The Insiders (Hardcover)
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
Three kids who don’t belong. A room that shouldn’t exist. A year that will change everything.
Perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead and Meg Medina, this debut middle grade novel from award-winning author Mark Oshiro is a hopeful and heartfelt coming-of-age story for anyone who’s ever felt like they didn’t fit in.
San Francisco and Orangevale may be in the same state, but for Héctor Muñoz, they might as well be a million miles apart. Back home, being gay didn’t mean feeling different. At Héctor’s new school, he couldn’t feel more alone.
Most days, Héctor just wishes he could disappear. And he does. Right into the janitor’s closet. (Yes, he sees the irony.) But one day, when the door closes behind him, Héctor discovers he’s stumbled into a room that shouldn’t be possible. A room that connects him with two new friends from different corners of the country—and opens the door to a life-changing year full of friendship, adventure, and just a little bit of magic.
“Sometimes hilarious, sometimes devastating, but always full of heart, The Insiders carves out a space for us all to be our true selves.” —Kwame Mbalia, New York Times bestselling author of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
Mark Oshiro is the award-winning author of the YA books Anger Is a Gift and Each of Us a Desert. When they are not writing, they are busy trying to fulfill their lifelong goal of petting every dog in the world. The Insiders is their middle grade debut.
— Kwame Mbalia, New York Times bestselling author of Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
“The story about finding your place and your people that I wish I’d had as a kid. Héctor has my whole heart and I want to hug him and keep him close, but he belongs out in the world where he can inspire readers to honor themselves."
— New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera
“A classic in the making.”
— Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Belles
“Oshiro’s intersectional saga conveys a strong message about letting go of secrets and, with help from loved ones, reclaiming space.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Heartfelt and laugh-out-loud funny. The perfect adventure for anyone who’s ever felt they didn’t fit in, with characters that jump off the page, pull you in, and don’t let go."
— Claribel A. Ortega, author of Ghost Squad and the Witchlings series
“A transportive and magical world made for kids who are true to themselves and misfits at heart. Mark Oshiro's debut middle grade is a must-read!"
— Zoraida Córdova, award-winning author of Labyrinth Lost and The Way to Rio Luna
“Achingly funny, relatable, and heartfelt.”
— John David Anderson, author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day
"[A] brave and earnest quest for happiness and belonging set among a richly diverse cast of characters. Sweet and full of heart."
— Kirkus Reviews
“With its modern dialogue, engaging cast, and painfully real depictions of bullying, this middle-grade debut is written with an expert hand.”
— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"[An] empowering novel, filled with knotty but relatable problems for its empathetic characters to solve."
“Bright and encouraging. Many readers will find resonance in this magical tale.”
— School Library Journal
"An appreciation of intersectional identity and a story of resilience."
— Horn Book Magazine