Boys Just Want to Have Fun

The mind of a prepubescent boy can be a confused and chaotic place. Caught between childhood and adolescence, he's flooded by new impulses, teased by an itch he can't quite scratch. So wordless lust is confined in wordless thoughts that resound in his tormented head. The 12-year-old narrator of Ed Lin's edgy debut novel Waylaid is the only child of Chinese immigrants. He spends all his spare time working at his family's ramshackle hotel on the New Jersey shore. The summer guests are "Bennys"—crude young Italians from New York City who vomit in the hallways and copulate in the pool. In...

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