book review

We Contain Multitudes|ARC Review


41716953Title: We Contain Multitudes

Author: Sarah Henstra

Pages: 384

Publication Date: May 14, 2019(yay its already out!)


Synopsis: Jonathan Hopkirk and Adam “Kurl” Kurlansky are partnered in English class, writing letters to one another in a weekly pen pal assignment. With each letter, the two begin to develop a friendship that eventually grows into love. But with homophobia, bullying, and devastating family secrets, Jonathan and Kurl struggle to overcome their conflicts and hold onto their relationship…and each other.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in order to review but all thoughts are my own

Non-Spoiler Review

Overview Thoughts

This book was such an enjoyable read. It was heartwarming at times and heart wrenching at times. I felt a wave of different emotions at time throughout this book. At times I felt happy and joyful but at other times I was sad and my heart was hurting a little. Though this story is told through letters, it doesn’t hinder the story and what it delivers. Reading this book really made me want a pen pal aha.


Jonathan. I really loved Jonathan, he was definitely my favorite character in this book. I love how quirky he is, mainly in the way he dresses and even though he gets bullied for it, he still does it and I love that about him. He isn’t sorry for who he is and he doesn’t try to hid it. I loved reading Jonathan’s letter the most because I felt his were the more beautifully written and poetic which doesn’t surprise me because he is a huge fan of the poet Walt Whitman.

Kurl/Adam. Kurl did not end up being the character I thought he was going to be. I was expecting him to be a jerk like the typical YA football players end up being. But Kurl was not that. He does put up a sort of cold demeanor but through the letters we get to see a different side of him then the front he puts on. Kurl does not have an easy life and I felt so bad for him and what he went through. It definitely plays into him as a character and even when he does some really horrible things, I can’t fully be mad at him. If anything it makes me feel for him more and yes, the things he did were not okay, I’m not saying they were. But I feel like once you realize what is home life is and how it affects him mentally you sympathize with him.


One part that I really liked about this book was how it was in letter format. After reading this I really wanted to find a pen pal myself because it just sounds like fun aha. But anyways, back to the book. In their letters the two of them recount events they experienced together but in their letters. And at first it might seem stupid why they recount encounters they experienced together. But it’s nice because through this we get to sort of see/read the event from their perspective and read about what they thought during the event. And I like that the author did this because its also a way for us to sort of experience in a way the event too because the book is in letter format, Henstra could of easily done a tell not show writing style for these events. But she didn’t choose to go that way. Henstra wrote the events so it didn’t feel like we were simply reading a letter just plainly stating what happened. She wrote it so it didn’t feel like a letter and it felt like any other novel and not one written in letters if that makes sense. The writing was also very poetic at times and I really liked that about this book.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book! I loved the characters and thought they were well developed. I really liked how it was in letter format, it was sort of a refreshing to read something not written in how a typical book is written. The writing was awesome and I really liked it. Overall it was a solid book!


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