An exhilarating and emotional LGBTQ story about the growing relationship between two teen boys, told through the letters written to one another. For fans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and I’ll Give You the Sun.
Thrown together by a zealous English teacher's classroom-mailbox assignment, notorious scrapper, Adam "Kurl" Kurlansky, and Jonathan Hopkirk, a flamboyant Walt Whitman wannabe, have to write an old-fashioned letter to each other every week.
Kurl is a senior, an ex high school football player, held back a year, while Jo is a nerdy, out tenth grader with a penchant for vintage clothes and a deep love for poetry. They are an unlikely pair, but with each letter, the two begin to develop a friendship that grows into love. But with homophobia, bullying and familial abuse, Jonathan and Kurl must struggle to overcome their conflicts and hold onto their relationship, and each other.
SARAH HENSTRA won the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for her novel The Red Word (ECW/Grove). She is also author of the YA novels Mad Miss Mimic (Penguin Random House Canada, 2015), which was named a CLA Best Book for Teens and a finalist for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, and We Contain Multitudes (Penguin Teen/Little, Brown, 2019). Sarah is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Ryerson University in Toronto.
One of BookRiot’s 25 Awesome 2019 Queer YA Books to Preorder Right Now
One of CBC’s 29 Canadian Kids Books & YA to Look For in Spring 2019
One of Booklist's Top 10 Romance Fiction for Youth 2019
One of BookPage's Best Young Adult Books of 2019
One of Quill And Quire’s Honorable Mentions for 2019 Books of the Year for Young People
One of CCBC's Best Books for Kids & Teens 2019
One of CanLit for Little Canadians' must-read Canadian YA books
PRAISE FOR We Contain Multitudes:
"This exploration of self and sexuality is sure to be quickly embraced by fans of Love, Simon, They Both Die in the End and The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue.” --Siân Gaetano, Shelf Awareness, Editor (Children's and YA)
"The title of this book is incredibly fitting. Jonathan and Kurl are two complex and fascinating characters, and they instantly drew me into the world created by their letters and their love. It's an astonishing romance and character study that also happens to be full of gorgeous writing." --Robin Talley, author of Lies We Tell Ourselves and Pulp
"We Contain Multitudes is an emotional journey, both heartbreaking and healing. A true love letter to the way family, friendships, and first loves slowly peel away our carefully-constructed walls to the layers beneath. Henstra’s words are a universe I never want to escape." --Julian Winters, author of Running With Lions
“This is an absolutely extraordinary work of fiction that proves the epistolary novel is an art form. Kurl and Jo are characters to die for, emotionally compelling and empathetic. . . . [This novel] is not to be missed.” --STARRED REVIEW, Booklist
“Sarah Henstra has crafted a nuanced text that is heartbreaking, hopeful, poetic, and captivating, creating a literary space for two seemingly disparate young men to forge a bond and discover that they each truly do contain multitudes!” --Highly Recommended, CM Magazine
“A love story, a therapy session, a reason to read Whitman — the sweetness of unexpected amour is here, as is the saline of sadness . . . Your reason to root for love — and the power of the pen.” --STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews
“A stunning, stylish, sensitive novel.” --Resource Links
“Henstra’s latest is certainly multitudinous: worth reading, enjoying, interrogating.” --Quill & Quire
“. . . [A]s a medium for reporting day-to-day occurrences and conveying intimate feelings and classic themes—love, lust, and betrayal, among others—the letters shine.”-- Publishers Weekly
“ . . . an epic, sweeping romance — and gay teens deserve more of those.” --The Horn Book