The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart
The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart
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Annotation: With the help of his two best friends, and surreal appearances by Oscar Wilde himself, teenager Ken Z. navigates his first foray into love.
Catalog Number: #190266
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 342 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-10-193821-8
ISBN 13: 978-1-10-193821-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2018018732
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
On an island somewhere in the Pacific lives a 17-year-old boy named Ken Z., a self-­described nerd, bookworm, and geek who, more important, is also a list maker, poet, haiku creator, notebook writer, and fervent Oscar Wilde fan, and whose best friends are bisexual Estelle and girl warrior CaZZ. Once upon a time, Ken Z. meets another boy with the improbable name of Ran, who uldn't you know it? oks exactly like Dorian Gray and is also an Oscar Wilde enthusiast. The boys form an instant friendship that soon blossoms into love. But then Ran disappears and a bereft Ken Z. finds wisdom, counsel, and support in the imagined presence of Oscar Wilde himself, who improbably begins to appear to him. But can he bring Ran back? Linmark's novel is definitely offbeat and wild(e)ly imaginative, inviting long thoughts about the uncertainty of love, with its wonderment and hummingbird heartbeats. Beautifully written, sad as a Wilde fairy tale, and home to highly empathic characters, the novel is a rich reading experience that would make the ineffable Oscar proud.
Kirkus Reviews
Love, loss, and surviving heartache are at the center of this coming-of-age romance set in the South Pacific.When Ken Z, a bookworm and senior from "the middle of Nowhere, Pacific Ocean," with a Japanese mother, braves a trip to a snooty mall a bus ride away from his high school, love is the last thing that he expects to find. A chance meeting with Ran, a wealthy, blond-haired, white doppelgänger for Dorian Gray, changes his mind. The pair bond over being the only children of single mothers and their shared love for the playwright Oscar Wilde. When Ran abruptly breaks everything off, Ken is devastated and has to find a way to continue believing in love. In this earnest novel, Linmark (Pop Vérité, 2017, etc.) creates a sweet love story that celebrates diversity of its characters and culture. The Pacific island, while unnamed, reads like an amalgam of the Philippines and the Korean peninsula. Everything, from Ran's compulsory military service to the banning of books, feels authentic and heightens the stakes of the burgeoning gay romance. At times the metaphors emphasizing the class disparity between Ken and Ran can be heavy-handed, but the boys' romance builds in a way that feels natural.An unabashed love letter to Oscar Wilde, Cole Porter, and the arts' ability to give voice to human emotion. (Fiction. 12-18)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (7/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Lexile: HL670L
There are two ways to begin this story.

a haiku

Inside a minute--
A blue-throated hummingbird's One thousand heartbeats.


a prayer

Dear Oscar Wilde,
Patron Saint of Rebels and Bookworms:
This is Ken Z. I'm seventeen years old, a senior at South Kristol High. I live on an island in the middle of Nowhere, Pacific Ocean. So tiny you need a magnifying glass to spot us on the map.
Oscar, I met someone. There. It's out. Whew. Yes, I met someone earlier this week, and this morning, I woke up to my heart beating a thousand hummingbird heartbeats. It felt new and strange, and anything new and strange to me is worth exploring, like Antarctica. I don't know where my heart is zooming to. So if you could, please guide me through this unfamiliar map.
Your forever devotee, Ken Z 
PS His name is Ran.

Excerpted from The Importance of Being Wilde at Heart by R. Zamora Linmark
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Readers of Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End) and Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X) will pull out the tissues for this tender, quirky story of one seventeen-year-old boy's journey through first love and first heartbreak, guided by his personal hero, Oscar Wilde.

Words have always been more than enough for Ken Z, but when he meets Ran at the mall food court, everything changes. Beautiful, mysterious Ran opens the door to a number of firsts for Ken: first kiss, first love. But as quickly as he enters Ken's life, Ran disappears, and Ken Z is left wondering: Why love at all, if this is where it leads?

Letting it end there would be tragic. So, with the help of his best friends, the comfort of his haikus and lists, and even strange, surreal appearances by his hero, Oscar Wilde, Ken will find that love is worth more than the price of heartbreak.

"An unabashed love letter to Oscar Wilde, Cole Porter, and the arts' ability to give voice to human emotion." --Kirkus

"Linmark's novel is definitely offbeat and wild(e)ly imaginative...and a rich reading experience that would make the ineffable Oscar proud." --Booklist

"A big-hearted book that...always keeps love in its heart." --Abdi Nazemian author of Like a Love Story and The Authentics

"As surreal as it is real, as beautiful as it is painful, as playful as it is wise. --Randy Ribay, author of Patron Saints of Nothing

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