Ask a Bookseller: Stay True

Mallory Melton of BookPeople in Austin, Texas recommends a memoir about friendship and grief by New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, titled “Stay True.”

Orange and yellow book cover features teen taking a picture
"Stay True" by Hua Hsu
Penguin Random House

18-year-old Hsu, son of Taiwanese immigrants, loves ‘zines and record shops and declaring his own style. In college, he’s put off at first by Ken, a Japanese-American frat member whose tastes in music and fashion Hsu finds to be decidedly mainstream. Yet they form a friendship that feels both unique and universal.

Ken is killed in a carjacking while in college, and Melton admires the honest, raw way the author confronts his grief and stays true to his friend’s memory. She listened to the audio book, narrated by Hsu, which had her bawling in her living room—then rushing to recommend it to others.

NPR’s Scott Simon recently interviewed Hua Hsu about the memoir and the nature of grief.

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