If you haven’t already read My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson I’m really going to have to insist that you do so. As usual I won’t be revealing too much about the plot mostly because I think any plot summary makes Rhombus sound like a problem novel,1 which it really isn’t. It’s a character study of a wonderful, smart, engaging, confused teenager, who’s a total maths geek and wants to go to Georgia Tech to become an engineer.2 It’s a quiet story about surviving high school, working hard, about friendship, love, and family relations that touches on all sorts of big stuff—class, privilege, power—without ever being preachy or obvious.
I adore how not preachy Rhombus is. It’s a gentle book that is never for a second boring. (I made the mistake of starting it when I went to bed. Didn’t put it down till I finished—just shy of 5AM.) I love books where there really aren’t any villains. There are people who behave badly in Rhombus, but you understand why and where they’re coming from even. I felt almost nourished by this book. I hug it to my chest.
Another thing I loved about My Life as a Rhombus: the tables and mathematical formulas and postulates throughout the book. They were funny and wry and even innumerate me was able to understand them.
You want this book! You want to read it! Immediately!
My reading only good novels streak remains unbroken. W00t!
If you’ve read Rhombus I’d love to talk about it with you in the comments. So I guess that’s a warning that the comments might be spoilery.
- I have a huge prejudice against problem novels which I may have to reconsider since the last few books I read that could be considered problem novels were all fabulous. [↩]
- I kind of wish I’d gone to school with Rhonda. We could’ve obsessed about basketball together. I could introduce Rhonda to the WNBA, which she seems not to know about. [↩]