Baby reads like an album. Side A is filled with crescendos of joy, but also longing, confusion and pain as its inevitable conclusion rushes towards Santi and Suwa like a train. Side B begins with bitterness, confusion, pain and moments of joy: rising and crashing down again and again until uncertainty is certain, but so is hope. Honest and sweet, raw like its own beating heart; Baby will steal your heart.— From Kitri
Lio Min’s Beating Heart Baby is an “achingly romantic” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) love letter to internet friendships, anime, and indie rock
When artistic and sensitive Santi arrives at his new high school, everyone in the wildly talented marching band welcomes him with open arms. Everyone except for the prickly, proud musical prodigy Suwa, who doesn’t think Santi has what it takes to be in the band.
But Santi and Suwa share painful pasts, and when they open up to each other, a tentative friendship begins. And soon, that friendship turns into something more. . . .
Will their fresh start rip at the seams as Suwa seeks out a solo spotlight, and both boys come to terms with what it'll take, and what they'll have to let go, to realize their dreams?
"This book is alive with ache, grief, hunger, love, pain and awe. . . . It should be read for the reasons all good books should be read: because it’s beautiful and moving, nuanced and humane. Most of all, because it’s fun." —Los Angeles Times
"Min's exploration of coming out and owning your story as an artist is particularly exhilarating and nuanced. . . It's an epic tale of queer validation, filtered through the light of the California sun and Sailor Moon, and an essential read for anyone searching for a blueprint of their soul." —BookPage, starred review
"A lyrical, rhythmic, and promising debut, this queer romance is a hit." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A luminous homage to music, art, and the power of found family. . . This achingly romantic novel features racially diverse and variously queer characters, each of whom is given ample space to develop." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"At times incredibly romantic, at times wildly devastating, this debut about identity, belonging, kinship, fandom, and starting over is one of the best books you'll read all year." —BuzzFeed (Best Book of the Summer)
"There’s a magic to this book I just can’t put into words. . . . If you like angst, pining, anime, music and found family, Beating Heart Baby is the book that will make you cheer, weep, laugh, and pine for your own internet friendship transforming into a happily ever!" —TheNerdDaily.com
"Blistering, deeply emo, and shimmering with the messiness of intimacy, Beating Heart Baby is a dizzying, occasionally infuriating, gleefully sexy, and utterly heartfelt exploration of identity, culture, and finding home within your art and in yourself. Brimming with music, profoundly specific internet, and the magic of cooked food with chosen family, Lio Min’s debut is as much a salve as it is nourishment." —Mary H. K. Choi, author of Yolk
"A stunning heartbreak of a novel that will mean so much to so many. I couldn’t put it down—following the always tender and often romantic journeys of these beautiful boys. A story about how love can shape you and open up the entire world. Lio Min is a superstar to watch." —Maurene Goo, author of Somewhere Only We Know
"A beautiful story about finding family, messy first loves, and the power of music. Beating Heart Baby will break your heart in the best way." —Emiko Jean, author of Tokyo Ever After
"You know that feeling, when you hear your favorite song for the first time? Lio Min has captured it in electrifying prose. Beating Heart Baby reached deep inside me and healed wounds I always assumed I’d be carrying forever." —Adib Khorram, author of Darius the Great Is Not Okay
“Beating Heart Baby combines an anime-addled queer coming-of-age with a luxurious, sensual love story. You won’t know whether to swoon or seethe with jealousy that you weren’t this cool in high school.” —Meredith Russo, author of If I Was Your Girl
“An altogether wildly moving story of finding yourself while chasing down dreams, Beating Heart Baby reads like the best kind of love song and leaves you wanting to hit repeat, with chapter after chapter positively humming in your head. And the beating heart of this beautiful novel? A story of love and forgiveness like no other.” —Eric Smith, author of Don't Read the Comments
“A vivid and vital gift to queer teens everywhere.” —Peyton Thomas, author of Both Sides Now
"Beating Heart Baby creates the eclectic, stylish world of every teen weirdo’s dreams. Readers will connect to the struggle and yearning of young queer love while finding warmth and acceptance within its diverse and compassionate cast." —Jen Wang, author of The Prince and the Dressmaker