Allllways feels good to get to talk about how much I loved a book I feel is going way too far under the radar, so here I am to shout about Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min, which releases from Flatiron Books on the 26th! I personally bill this book as Radio Silence by Alice Oseman meets All Kinds of Other by James Sie, and it’s half narrated by cis pansexual Filipino-American Santi and half by trans gay Japanese-Korean Suwa. There’s anime and music and friendship and Tokyo and a great cast and so much to love, so check it out when it releases later this month!
Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min
Santi has only had his heart broken one time, and it was all his fault. When he accidentally leaked his internet best friend Memo’s song, and it became an overnight hit, Memo disappeared—leaving their song’s cult fame, and Santi, behind.
Three years later, Santi arrives in Los Angeles with a mission: get over the ghost of Memo. Thankfully, his new school and its wildly-talented Sunshower marching band welcome him with open arms. All except for his section leader, the prickly, proud, musical prodigy Suwa. But when Santi realizes Suwa is trans, then Suwa realizes Santi takes his identity in stride, both boys begin to let their guards down. Santi learns Suwa’s surliness masks a painful, still raw history of his own, and as they open up to each other, their friendship quickly takes on the red-hot blush of a mutual crush.
Just as Santi is feeling settled in this new life, with a growing found family and a head-over-heels relationship with Suwa, he begins to put together the pieces of an impossible truth—that he knows both more and less of Suwa’s story than he’s been told. Their fragile fresh start threatens to rip apart at the seams again when Suwa is offered the chance to step into the spotlight he’s owed but has always denied himself. Now, Santi and Suwa must finally reckon with their dreams, their pasts—and their futures, together or apart.