In Case You Missed It – Odd One Out by Nic Stone

ODD ONE OUT by NIC STONE (2018)

A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN

 

Odd One Out by Nic Stone is an #OwnVoices contemporary novel centered around three teens who are struggling to come to terms with their budding sexualities. We have Courtney Cooper, eighteen, star basketball player and all-around nice guy. We have Jupiter Sanchez, seventeen, an out and proud lesbian and staunch feminist to boot. Rounding out our trio is Rae Chin, fifteen, a crossword-puzzle-making straight A student who befriends both Jupiter and Courtney (or Coop, as he’s frequently called). Odd One Out is a slim book, but within its 300 pages is enough drama to fill a soap opera. It was messy, and not really in a fun way…

SPOILERS AHEAD…

Okay, now that our intro is over, let me try to parse this love triangle out for you: Coop is in love with Jupiter, his best friend, who identifies as a lesbian at the beginning of the book. In comes Rae, who Jupiter is friends with before Coop. Rae and Jupiter hit it off immediately, but Rae and Coop don’t get along. Until a plot thread involving a carnival and a made-for-TV kids’ scientist comes along (think Bill Nye the Science Guy). Rae and Coop bond over that. Rae is then torn between Jupiter and Coop. Everything just gets more complicated from there.

Sound messy? That’s because it is. It’s very messy, made even messier by the fact that all three characters have their own “part” in the book. The first part is Coop’s. He didn’t annoy me, but I don’t think he was written very well, either. A lot of the dialogue between Coop and his friends feels stilted and just downright fake. It wasn’t bad enough for me to put the book down but it wasn’t a great reading experience to begin with. After Coop is Rae, who came across as a little immature. She’s only fifteen, so of course she’s immature, but the fact that she ends up with Coop at some point made me a little more than uncomfortable. After Rae is Jupiter, who wasn’t as annoying to read about, but her obsession with Queen was a bit weird to me. Are teens still listening to Queen? Maybe I’m just old. Anyway…

Odd One Out was a mess. It wasn’t confusing. It was just a mess. I get what Stone was trying to do, adding in so many different perspectives for an issue as complicated as sexuality, but instead of coming across as informative, it was just frustrating. All three of our characters–Coop, Jupiter, and Rae–were attracted to one another at some point and none of them acted on it until the very end of the book. There’s some important discussions about sexuality and labels in here, but also a bit of biphobia I didn’t necessarily enjoy. However, I understand why Stone wanted to write this particular book. Jupiter and Rae are questioning their sexuality and struggle with labels society puts on sexuality. It makes sense and we need more questioning rep in YA, but aside from that, this book is a mess. It was a quick read, though.

Your mileage may vary, of course, and you can pick up a copy of Odd One Out at the Argenta Library today!

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