"Intense and moving...a phenomenal book that deserves a wide audience among readers."
—Wall Street Journal
This story is, in short, about a monster meeting another monster.
One of the monsters is me.
Yunjae was born with a brain condition called Alexithymia, which makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He does not have friends—the two almond-shaped neurons located deep in his brain have seen to that—but his devoted mother and grandmother provide him with a safe and content life. Their little home above his mother's used bookstore is decorated with colorful Post-it notes that remind him when to smile when to say "thank you," and when to laugh.
Then on Christmas Eve—Yunjae's sixteenth birthday—everything changes. A shocking act of random violence shatters his world, leaving him alone and on his own. Struggling to cope with his loss, Yunjae retreats into silent isolation, until troubled teenager Gon arrives at his school, and they develop a surprising bond.
As Yunjae begins to open his life to new people—including a girl at school—something slowly changes inside him. And when Gon suddenly finds his life at risk, Yunjae will have the chance to step outside of every comfort zone he has created to become perhaps the hero he never thought he would be.
"Readers of Wonder by R.J. Palacio and Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig will appreciate this resonant story that "gives Yunjae the courage to claim an entirely different story."
Sohn Won-pyung is a film director, screenwriter, and novelist living in South Korea. She earned a BA in social studies and philosophy at Sogang University and film directing at the Korean Academy of Film Arts. She has won several prizes, including the Film Review Award of the 6th Cine21, and the Science Fantasy Writers’ Award for her movie script I Believe in the Moment. She also wrote and directed a number of short films, including Oooh You Make Me Sick and A Two-way Monologue. She made her literary debut in 2017 with this, her first full-length novel, Almond, which won the Changbi Prize for Young Adult Fiction, followed by which won the Jeju 4.3 Peace Literary Award.