November 14, 2022 7:53 AM EST

New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu’s coming-of-age memoir explores the power of friendship—including the many ways it impacts identity. Hsu, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, attended college in Berkeley, Calif., where he bought his clothes at thrift stores and spent his free time making zines. He unexpectedly became close friends with Abercrombie & Fitch-wearing Ken, a Japanese American student who appeared to be his opposite. Yet the two bonded over late-night conversations and long drives along the coast. After Ken was violently killed in a carjacking, Hsu began writing, and the result is this beautiful work, singed with grief. —Angela Haupt

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