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Bianca Torre Is Afraid of Everything

por Justine Pucella Winans

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Suspense. Thriller. Young Adult Fiction. LGBTQIA+ (Fiction.) HTML:

Murder most fowl? In this sardonic and campy YA thriller, an anxious, introverted nonbinary teen birder somehow finds themself investigating a murder with their neighbor/fellow anime lover, all while falling for a cute girl from their birding group...and trying not to get killed next.

Sixteen-year-old Bianca Torre is an avid birder undergoing a gender identity crisis and grappling with an ever-growing list of fears. Some, like Fear #6: Initiating Conversation, keep them constrained, forcing them to watch birds from the telescope in their bedroom. And, occasionally, their neighbors. When their gaze wanders to one particular window across the street, Bianca witnesses a creepy plague-masked murderer take their neighbor's life. Worse, the death is ruled a suicide, forcing Bianca to make a choice??succumb to their long list of fears (including #3 Murder and #55 Breaking into a Dead Guy's Apartment), or investigate what happened.

Bianca enlists the help of their friend Anderson Coleman, but the two have more knowledge of anime than true crime. As Bianca and Anderson dig deeper into the murder with a little help from Bianca's crush and fellow birding aficionado, Elaine Yee (#13 Beautiful People, #11 Parents Discovering They're a Raging Lesbian), the trio uncover a conspiracy much larger??and weirder??than imagined. And when the killer catches wind of the investigation, suddenly Bianca's #1 fear of public speaking doesn't sound so bad compared to the threat of being silenced for good.

In this absurdist, darkly comical YA thriller that is a deceptively deep exploration of anxiety and identity, perhaps the real murder investigation is the friends we make along the… (mais)

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True to the title, Bianca Torre is plagued by a litany of fears, every reader is likely to find one or two or ten that they relate to, I certainly did, in particular, anyone who experiences awkwardness and discomfort in social situations will recognize and sympathize with Bianca’s cringier interractions.

There were definitely moments where it felt odd that Bianca’s family didn’t seem as concerned as I would be in their shoes, and it somewhat defied logic at one point (I’ll keep this vague to avoid spoilers) when instead of warning/whisking everyone away from danger, the characters carried on with a public charade, but those things did match the overall tone, more often than not this leans into humor and it does so very well, as long as you keep that in mind and don’t view the murdery aspects as seriously as you would in real life, it makes for an entertaining ride.

Birdwatching was one of the main reasons I wanted to give this book a try, I guess because I like reading about subjects and hobbies that are unfamiliar to me, learning while I read fiction always feels like an added bonus, plus I love stories that spend time outdoors, so I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t as much birding content as I’d anticipated, but I get that there just wasn’t much room for that when there was a lot to delve into with the mystery and Bianca figuring out her gender identity.

As a reader who only dips their toe occasionally into mystery, I was good with the balance between the mystery and Bianca’s personal journey, though I could see this potentially frustrating those readers who are primarily here for the mystery as it does sometimes take a backseat.

While Bianca’s chemistry with Elaine is pretty adorable, I liked their friendship with Anderson even more, I liked that there’s a whole arc to it, that there’s a greater depth to it than Bianca initially belives and I just really appreciated how supportive and genuine their connection felt. ( )
  SJGirl | Sep 25, 2023 |
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Suspense. Thriller. Young Adult Fiction. LGBTQIA+ (Fiction.) HTML:

Murder most fowl? In this sardonic and campy YA thriller, an anxious, introverted nonbinary teen birder somehow finds themself investigating a murder with their neighbor/fellow anime lover, all while falling for a cute girl from their birding group...and trying not to get killed next.

Sixteen-year-old Bianca Torre is an avid birder undergoing a gender identity crisis and grappling with an ever-growing list of fears. Some, like Fear #6: Initiating Conversation, keep them constrained, forcing them to watch birds from the telescope in their bedroom. And, occasionally, their neighbors. When their gaze wanders to one particular window across the street, Bianca witnesses a creepy plague-masked murderer take their neighbor's life. Worse, the death is ruled a suicide, forcing Bianca to make a choice??succumb to their long list of fears (including #3 Murder and #55 Breaking into a Dead Guy's Apartment), or investigate what happened.

Bianca enlists the help of their friend Anderson Coleman, but the two have more knowledge of anime than true crime. As Bianca and Anderson dig deeper into the murder with a little help from Bianca's crush and fellow birding aficionado, Elaine Yee (#13 Beautiful People, #11 Parents Discovering They're a Raging Lesbian), the trio uncover a conspiracy much larger??and weirder??than imagined. And when the killer catches wind of the investigation, suddenly Bianca's #1 fear of public speaking doesn't sound so bad compared to the threat of being silenced for good.

In this absurdist, darkly comical YA thriller that is a deceptively deep exploration of anxiety and identity, perhaps the real murder investigation is the friends we make along the

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