Review of The Minus-One Club

The Minus-One Club The Minus-One Club
by Kekla Magoon
High School    Holt    368 pp.
1/23    9781250806208    $19.99
e-book ed.  9781250806215    $10.99

The Minus-One Club has two rules: “1. Tell no one else about us. 2. We never talk about IT.” “IT” is death, and the loss of a loved one is the only admission criterion for the secret club to which tenth grader Kermit suddenly finds himself invited after his older sister, Sheila, is killed in a car accident. The close-knit group also includes popular and openly gay Matt, whose mother died of cancer. Kermit, who is struggling with his Christian faith and with coming out, is attracted to Matt’s easy confidence and thrilled when Matt returns his affections. But as the boys grow closer, Kermit begins to see that Matt’s effortless aplomb is really just a facade covering up a self-destructive drinking problem. Soon Kermit must decide if never talking about Sheila’s death, Matt’s drinking, or his own sexuality is helping him cope or actually amplifying his loss. Readers will be drawn into the development of Kermit and Matt’s tender first love, which is realistically halting, clumsy, and intimate. Short, dialogue-rich chapters interspersed with dream-sequence exchanges between Kermit and his bossy, loving late sister add levity and keep the pacing brisk. This evocative exploration of grief, sexual identity, and personal spirituality will be a boon to any teen grappling with these issues.

From the January/February 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Jennifer Hubert Swan

Jennifer Hubert Swan is the library department chair and upper school librarian at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY. She is also an adjunct assistant professor at Pratt Institute School of Information, where she teaches youth literature and library programming. She blogs at Reading Rants.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.