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We Contain Multitudes

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  78 reviews
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe meets I'll Give You the Sun in an exhilarating and emotional novel about the growing relationship between two teen boys, told through the letters they write to one another.

Jonathan Hopkirk and Adam "Kurl" Kurlansky are partnered in English class, writing letters to one another in a weekly pen pal assignment. With eac
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  168 ratings  ·  78 reviews

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Dec 18, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: glbt
2019 is the first year where I think that I won't be able to keep up with all the promising lgbt+ releases and that makes me want to cry
“““Poetry’s like that, Kurl: slippery and coy. It means different things to different people.”””

You know how sometimes you’ll read a book. And it’s objectively beautiful. Like, if you were to scientifically analyze the book, and place all its pieces side by side on a table, you’d agree that yes, this is technically beautiful. It has all the right parts. It says all the right things.

Dec 13, 2018 marked it as to-read
2019 is rocking with all these new gay releases!
Elise (TheBookishActress)
Apr 14, 2018 marked it as arcs-physical
pen pal guys who fall in love in the face of homophobia. god bless. 
Leslie Gallager
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, yafiction
Rarely has a book affected me as this one has. I wanted to race through it and while at the same time, slowly savor each sentence. It is a shimmering love story with a brittle core. I cried more than once and may have been reading this at my desk during the day... Unforgettable.
Mar 23, 2019 marked it as to-read
The cover weirdly reminds me of Pynch...
a moment of silence for all the great characters who got screwed over by shitty plots

for them as wants to know exactly: (view spoiler)
Nov 15, 2018 marked it as anti-library  ·  review of another edition
This sounds positively devastating so of course, I want to read it bad
How is anybody supposed to hide happiness like this?

This book is so pure and beautifully written that after I finished it, I died.
As soon as I started breathing again I ordered the hard copy so that, in 11-15 business days, I'll be able to hold this baby in my hands and reread it until it falls apart with me.

A book comprised only of letters had me hesitant, but Henstra wrote this perfectly. She used the letters not as a constant conversation but a reminiscent account of things that happen wit
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was provided with a digital ARC of this book by NetGalley and the publishing house, Little,Brown Books for Young Readers, in exchange for an honest review

Full review can be found here

You guys, I'm still in shock by how much I loved this book. I knew it was going to be something right up my alley, but I didn't think I would love it THAT much.
This is an episotolary LGBTQ+ YA novel following Jonathan and Adam, two boys who are parnered in English class in order to write letters to each other. Th
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018, queer, young-adult
I 1000% loved this book for the 1st 3/4ths. It's this really beautiful romantic epistolary novel about 2 teenage boys who fall in love and discuss Walt Whitman and salamanders and their own sordid lives. It's lovely. But then some hardcore drama happens 3/4ths in and it was really overwhelming in its intensity. I almost whipped the book across the room, tbh. I needed Imogen Heap to come in with some oooooh what you says to cut those dark feelings. Haha. But also for real.

So yeah, the motivations
madeline ♡
Apr 30, 2019 marked it as to-read
guess who's got an arc 😎
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I don't know how to feel about this book.

I loved a good bit of it. Like five stars would recommend to everyone loved it. The characters were fun and portrayed being gay in a heartbreakingly realistic way. It was written well, though the letter format of the book did hinder it a bit and grew a little thin at places. I was excited every time I picked it up to see what was going to happen next.

But its the last hundred pages that I can't get behind. Not going to spoil it, but some big issues come up
Rita Mariani
May 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
can't believe how excited i was for this book... the disappointment is real with this one
Nicole Lorentz
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First off, I would like to thank thenovl and little, brown young readers for the ARC of this book! I was given this copy in exchange for an honest review.

”We are large, remember? We contain multitudes.”

4.5/5 What a sensational story! We Contain Multitudes opened my heart and took me on a journey filled with friendship, love, heartbreak, and perseverance. It follows Jonathan (Jo) Hopkirk and Adam “Kurl” Kurlandsky as they write letters to one another due to an English assignment. As they write, a
Brianna Branch
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5/5 stars

Thanks to Siena Koncsol and Morgan Maple of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing me with an advanced copy of We Contain Multitudes for review purposes.

“You undid me, Kurl. That’s all I’m trying to report in this letter. You undid me, Kurl, in more ways than one.”

I enjoyed this novel immensely; its easy-to-read letter entry format enabled me to read it freely without feeling the need to read to the end of a whole chapter. The story itself starts out a bit cliché, yet I c
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE. Seriously EVERYONE.
This. This. This.

I don't want to write about what this book is about. I don't feel the urge to write about how beautifully drawn Adam Kurlansky and Jonathan Hopkirk are. How their voices are so distinct. How their story is so universal and unique. I don't want to write about that. I want to write about how much I'm feeling right now.

This is two days in a row of me reading YA books with gay boys at their center. And both have completely wrecked me.

But this one might have wrecked me the most. I w
Mar 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an e-arc of this book.

Jo and Kurl are paired up by their English teacher to be penpals for a school assignment. A few grades apart, they don't really know each other but do know of each other. Kurl is one of the football stars of the school, eerily calm, but has the reputation for getting into fights. Jo dresses like he's from another time, loves to reference Walt Whitman, and is openly gay. So naturally they start out their assignment only being awa
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful writing. Profound prose. The characterization is absolutely amazing, and the emotional connection between Jo and Kurl is gorgeous. I wanted to live inside their letters to each other; watching them grow into themselves and into each other was beautiful.

Unfortunately, this is, annoyingly, one of those books that's absolutely a 5-star, I want to re-read this Right Now, type of affair until about 3/4ths of the way through, when the author decides what would really be a good idea to throw
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: not-yet-released, arc
This was a very well written book! The characters were great, the letter format worked, and the themes were important and handled with care. It definitely got a little too dark and intense for me within the last quarter, as a lot happened all at once, but it was written well and made sense. Sixteen year old me would have looooved this novel, and I think that’s very telling! It’s not a unique story nowadays, but it’s worth reading. I think many young readers will connect with this one and find it ...more
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbtq, young-adult
Since it's two boys writing letters (and falling in love) I thought it was going to be similar to Simon vs the Homosapien Agenda--it wasn't at all. It's filled with some serious issues and some pretty tough shit to read. Perfect for fans of realistic fiction that has a darker side or fans of David Leviathan. More along those lines than Becky Albertalli. I would let it break my heart all over again. One of my favorite YA novels recently.
Fiona Tolley
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! I won it in a giveaway but I probably wouldn’t have read it otherwise and I really would’ve missed out. It’s told entirely through letters which was endearing and really showed the characters’ development. There were a lot of complex relationships and storylines but it never got confusing. It was captivating and I was rooting for the characters like they were real people.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, favorites
This book made me feel many things.
Hollie (Hollieblog)
Let’s start this off by saying this review shouldn’t really be in written form.

Reviews like this are the only time I think about having a Youtube channel, because I cannot properly put into words how much I loved We Contain Multitudes. If I had a Youtube Channel, you’d be able to see my facial expressions and how squeaky my voice would get when talking about this book.

But alas, I’ll have to interpret how I feel here.

I’m not sure how I came across We Contain Multitudes. Perhaps it was mentioned o
McKayla Moors
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who read rainjoyswriting's stuff in like 2012 and still think about it constantly
You know that feeling, when you're reading a fanfic about your absolute favorite ship, and the writer just gets the characters, like really gets them, and entangles their lives so beautifully and horribly that you're left feeling hollow, adrift, raw like if someone touched you right then you might just disintegrate where you stand?

That's what this book is. Nearly 400 pages of feeling like that.

I mean, this book has me written all over it. Walt Whitman, queer love, softbois, sadbois, letter-writi
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well, my heart was prepared for exactly none of this.
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
All the stars to this one!! Thanks @lbschool for this free review copy for our #bookclub! Sarah Henstra CRUSHES this YA novel written entirely in letters back and forth between two boys. What starts as an English assignment turns into something much larger than either boy thought. Family, relationships, death, abuse, music, all of it. I’m in ❤ with this book! Coming out May 2019!!! Put it on your radar! ...more
Jan 14, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: coming-soon-19
This kind of makes me nervous, but I'd like to read it, still.
Brianna Carrasco
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

"The US Postal Service is abuzz with the missives of sad, solitary, estranged teenagers."

I know this book is going to stay in my heart for a while, and not a lot of books do that. I just wrote a review about another book that's in the form of letters where I talked about not liking books that are narrated in the letter format. And I just have to say, in this book... it just worked without being over the top. The thi
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My novel The Red Word is available March 2018 from Grove Atlantic (US) and ECW (Canada), and in 2019 from Tramp Press (UK). Mad Miss Mimic was published by Penguin Canada in 2015. We Contain Multitudes is coming in 2019 from Penguin (Canada) and Little, Brown (US). I'm also an English professor and I teach courses in Fairy Tales & Fantasy and Gothic Horror.