Header Image

YA Audiobook Review: I am Not Alone by Francisco X. Stork

Title: I am Not Alone
Author: Francisco X. Stork
Year published: 2023
Category: YA fiction (mystery)
Pages: 320 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2024 Google Reading map): USA (NY)

SummaryAlberto's life isn't easy: He's an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who lives with his sister's abusive boyfriend―but he'd always accepted his place in the world. Until he starts hearing the voice of a man called Captain America, a voice that wants him to achieve more, no matter the cost.

Grace has it all: She has a supportive boyfriend, she's on track to be valedictorian, and she's sure to go to the college of her dreams. Still, nothing feels right to her any more after the divorce of her parents, and feels she needs something more.

When Alberto and Grace meet, they have an immediate and electric connection. But when Alberto is present at the scene of a terrible crime, he becomes a suspect. And with his developing schizophrenia, he's not even sure he believes in his own innocence.

Can Grace find a way to prove Alberto's innocence to himself and the world?

Review: I have been impressed with Stork's past books (see my reviews for The Memory of Light; Disappeared; and Marcelo in the Real World) so was looking forward to reading this one. As I was thinking of reading it, I got a new credit on Audible so I decided to listen to it, which was a good choice.

Alberto is a character that I immediately felt for. He is a teenager who is in the US without documentation, has trouble learning, and loves to create pottery. It calms him. He needs calming more often now that he is hearing the voice. It must be so scary to hear voices and not understand what they mean. Alberto is kind, caring, and thoughtful.

Grace is also having a tough time. She is depressed and also cannot pinpoint how she feels and how to fix it. Meeting Alberto shows her a different way of thinking, of being, and of dealing with her parents' divorce. She and Alberto have a lovely friendship. However, after not reading much YA over the past couple of years, I find myself a bit frustrated with the behavior of the main characters. They make ridiculous choices, are somehow smarter than the adults, and fall in love far too easily.

Stork is so good at showing how mental health, friendship, family, and society mesh. He creates stunning characters who are real and raw. And mixed in with the life of someone who is experiencing schizophrenia is a mystery. Did Alberto really do the horrible things that the voice is saying he did? 

The Author's Note at the end of the novel (read by the author in the audiobook) talks about his own struggles with bipolar disorder and hallucinations and why he wrote this novel. Help of family and freinds is so important.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Alphabet (Author)--X
  • Decolonize--mystery by a BIPOC author
  • Cloak and Dagger

No comments