What I Was

”I’m not one of those heroes who attracts admiration for his physical attributes,” announces the narrator of Meg Rosoff’s intense, dreamy short novel, What I Was. ”Picture a boy, small for his age, ears stuck at right angles to his head, hair the texture of straw and the color of mouse.” Enrolled in a mediocre British boarding school, our homely protagonist swoons over Finn, a local boy with all the grace and good looks he lacks. But nothing is quite what it appears, including the novel itself. What begins as the familiar story of a delicate adolescent crush soon mutates into a twisty melodrama both fascinating and forced. B

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