From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
*Starred Review* It's freshman year for Kris Xu. But those annual fantasies of remaking himself from the quiet Chinese kid with the voice that is Jackie Chan cumbersome are dashed when the usual indignities resume: bullying, racism, and underestimation. Even his best friend and secret crush, Naomi the only other Chinese student seems to be pulling away. Then two things happen: he stumbles into an audition for the school musical and finds the glorious voice he thought he left in China, and other students start showing up dead. Although it has the plot outline of a thriller, this semifinalist in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Contest has the careful language and fine observations of a book with much more on its mind. Wrapped up ever more tightly in the plot is Kris' sense of racial and emotional identity, and his battle with self-loathing begins to test his reliability as a narrator. Even his name is a feint; those who know him call him Xing but who really knows him? There are a handful of suspects to the increasingly grisly crimes, and though the ultimate revelations are a tad rushed, they contain enough heartbreaking truths to deliver a significant punch. Sad, elegant, and creepy, this is a deft debut.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist