Always the almost A novel

Edward Underhill

Book - 2023

Sixteen-year-old trans boy Miles Jacobson's New Year resolutions include winning back his ex-boyfriend and winning the Midwest's biggest classical piano competition, but when a new, proudly queer boy moves to town, Miles reconsiders who he was and who he is now.

Saved in:

Young Adult Area Show me where

1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Underhil Edward Checked In
Queer fiction
Romance fiction
Transgender fiction
New York : Wednesday Books [2023]
Main Author
Edward Underhill (author)
First edition
Physical Description
307 pages ; 23 cm
Ages 12-18.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Miles has always loved (and hated) the piano. But with a high-stakes competition looming and his new teacher asking him to truly own the music he's playing, he's forced to confront who he is when he plays. That question is compounded by even bigger questions hanging over him--like whether his father will ever be completely comfortable seeing him as a guy, or if his ex, the football player Miles is still in love with, will realize that he's the same person he was when he went by another name. Complicating things is a new guy, Eric, who immediately accepts Miles for who he is. In his first novel, Underhill--himself queer and trans--doesn't shy away from tackling the very real struggles and bigotry trans teens face, while also simply letting them be kids in high school, navigating friendships, crushes, and whatever else life throws their way. Always the Almost is a sweet queer love story sure to delight any YA rom-com fan.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A trans teen pianist grapples with coming out, competition, and romance in Underhill's exuberant debut. Sixteen-year-old Miles Jacobson has two goals: beat rival pianist Cameron Hart in the Tri-State Piano Competition, and persuade his football player ex-boyfriend, Shane McIntyre, that he's still the same person he was before he came out as trans. Despite his enthusiasm regarding his plans, however, he struggles with his brusque piano teacher's insistence that his playing needs to have a personal meaning if he wants to beat Cameron. His desire to win Shane back is also complicated by growing feelings for Latinx artist Eric Mendez, a newcomer to Miles's small Wisconsin town who is immediately supportive of Miles's queer identity. A breakthrough with his concert piece leads to a successful preliminary competition round, but when Miles makes an relationship mistake that jeopardizes his budding courtship with Eric, he struggles to navigate myriad tertiary conflicts while trying to repair the romance. A beginning note promising a book "full of joy" lives up to that assurance; building nuanced characters with relatable problems, high emotional stakes, and earnest first love, Underhill delivers a delightful triumph. Most characters read as white. Ages 12--up. Agent: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Feb.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Sixteen-year-old Miles has two goals for the year: beat his rival at the Tri-State Piano Competition and win back his ex-boyfriend. Miles Jacobson, a White trans boy from Wisconsin, had been dating Shane McIntyre for a year before Miles came out and Shane broke up with him. He believes that if Shane really loved him, his gender shouldn't matter. But Miles' New Year's resolution to win Shane back is complicated by the arrival of Eric Mendez, a cute Latine guy who actually is queer and also likes Miles. As Miles works toward his piano goals with Stefania Smith, his demanding new teacher, a romance blossoms with Eric--even though Miles still has Shane on the brain. Underhill makes it clear in a preface that this is a joyful queer story, and it lives up to that promise. The book captures the delight of being not just accepted, but also understood--as well as the pains of being misunderstood. It celebrates Miles' real triumphs, from finding a suit that fits to mastering a Tchaikovsky concerto. Miles is likable and relatable as he tries to discover who he is on his own terms, not based on what others think of him. The author has chosen to include Miles' birth name prominently; this is uncomfortable but realistic for someone early in his transition. The supporting characters, especially Stefania, are well developed and bring life to Miles' world. A warm, optimistic transgender coming-of-age and queer romance. (author's note) (Romance. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.