Cover Image: Almond

Almond

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Member Reviews

This book is great! Would definitely recommend. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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Almond is about a Korean boy with an underdeveloped amygdalae, which gives him a condition and a brain disorder in which he can’t identify with emotions. 
I FLEW through this book and didn’t want it to end😭😭 I think Yunjae is one of my favorite fictional characters. Even though he lacked the emotional capacity that he should have, I ended up feeling all of those emotions for him and it made me so engaged in his story and wanting the best to turn out for him.

I really wish the ending felt more complete but I couldn’t help but feel something was missing from the end. Other than that, I loved it. The emotion that can be felt from a book about a boy who lacks emotion himself is so well done!!
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I really enjoyed this simple but lovely story of two young boys, each with their own set of problems, coming together to experience pain, love, loss and empathy. The writing was simple but engaging and the characters so well written that you become very involved in them, wanting the best for them. It's refreshing to read a story with a neurodiverse protaganist. The ending of the book was a bit contrived to me. I feel like it all came to a head rather quickly and abruptly but that may be because I was enjoying reading about their blossoming but strange friendship. Would totally recommend this book for people who are a fan of Asian literature, translated literature, coming of age stories and stories that feature neurodiverse characters.
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Almond is Sohn Won-pyung's debut novel (translated from Korean by Sandy Joosun Lee) about Yunjae, a 15-year-old who is alexithymic, or unable to recognize or express emotions. Yunjae explains that the amygdalae are two small, almond-shaped structures in the human brain which allow us to experience emotions, but his almonds are dysfunctional. He says, "[F]or some reason, my almonds don't seem to work well. They don't really light up when they are stimulated. So I don't know why people laugh or cry. Joy, sorrow, love, fear - all these things are vague ideas to me. The words 'emotion' and 'empathy' are just meaningless letters in print." 

With its confessional tone and short chapters, the novel is diary-like, showing a record of Yunjae's daily life and his attempts to understand more about his neurodivergent brain. I recommend the book because of its overall positive representation of a young neurodivergent character. Almond is a complex coming-of-age story featuring an alexithymic protagonist who finds himself in the unlikeliest of friendships, exploring the nature of love, fear, hate and the language people use, and misuse, to describe their messy emotions.

Full review posted at BookBrowse: https://www.bookbrowse.com/mag/reviews/index.cfm/ref/pr263552
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Loved this book.  The strong, but simple, clear writing leans the reader right into the character and his lack of empathy, clear cut with no messy emotions.  Sohn draws his readers into a family struggling with a child who feels no empathy and we follow his life.
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A moving story of a young man born with a mental defect, unable to feel emotions, until fate and a new, unlikely friend intervenes.
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This slim volume allows readers to wrestle with the role of emotion in our lives. Our main character had difficulty showing and processing emotion. Things that are second nature to many are confounding. This book explores themes of family, friendship, what it means to be "normal "

Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.
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Because of a rare brain condition, Yunjae doesn't experience emotions like fear or anger, causing others to think he is weird or a "robot," but in his teens he manages to make a friend--though one with his own issues.

This was an odd book that didn't quite work for me. I actually got kind of bored with it--maybe because I just never could connect with the characters. Be aware that there is some pretty graphic violence as well.
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I really loved this book. It was surprisingly moving even despite its simple premise of two boys who are foils for each other. A story about what it means to be human and to have empathy and to be good, and the ways we can try to understand each other. Really enjoyed it.
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The thing that makes this book so hard to read is the same thing that makes the reader unable to put it down. The Korean teenager narrating this book has alexithymia. It’s a neurological condition in which the amygdalae, about the size of an almond) in the brain do not grow. If you have this condition you don’t experience emotions. Its difficult to read a book narrated by someone who can experience pain but not fear so can be bullied physically. How do you tell a story in which you see your grandmother killed and your mother so deeply wounded by a knife that she remains in a coma for much of middle school and high school year without becoming sad at their death? That’s what life is like Yunjae. His story is exceptional. Because of this there are no emotional highs or lows for the reader. But don’t give up hope. Its not a long book, and the ending is worth the effort put into reading. I don’t know if this book is classified as a young adult book, but it should be read by anyone 14 years old and older.
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“Almond” is a coming-of-age story about a boy named Yunjae who was born with a brain disorder that results in emotional blindness. He is unable to feel, or detect in others, emotions such as fear, sadness, or joy. The book reminds readers of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” as it is told from Yunjae’s point of view and pulls readers into the full experience of his condition. 

Although “Almond” offers heartwarming moments very similar to those experienced by readers of R.J. Palaccio’s “Wonder”, the episodes of violence experienced by the main characters and the strong language cause me to recommend it for older teens. It is a quick and easy read that offers a lot of material for discussion in a classroom or book club setting.

The book is beautifully written and thought provoking. I highly recommend it!
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For fans of Wonder and The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime.
Could be a good recommend for older teens (was published as YA in Korea), strong language.
I really enjoyed the writing of this book. I think the first half was a solid 5 stars and the quick ending dropped it to 4.
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I got this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

At first I wasn’t sure what to make of this book. The young boy narrating the story suffered from an under-developed amygdala causing him to feel no emotion. As the story progressed I found myself earning to him and pulling for him to grow and succeed. Throughout the story, he suffered many hardships. I won’t go into details as I don’t want to spoil the story. 

Overall, I thought this was a charming coming-of-age story. Yunjae is a highly relatable character, despite his challenges. Aren’t all of us trying to find our place, our people, and our passions during our adolescence? This is a book I’d love to share with my sixth graders during our cultural studies unit. I loved that it was not a typical casting. And I loved how deeply Yunjae and Gon were developed.
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Lovely, heartwarming story that's perfect for fans of Wonder or Curious Incident. The story was so rich and beautifully told, it made a perfect escapist read during these crazy times, I can't wait to share it.
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A terrific read a boy born without emotions a character that comes alive.This is a translation that is so well done a book that drew me in,I will be suggesting this unique novel to my bookclub. #netgalley#harpercollins
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Thank you Net Galley for the free ARC. Heart-warming story of a boy born without feelings and the tragedy he has to overcome to find out who he really is.
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This was a very interesting book if a bit confusing about the actual neurological issue the main character has. The way that he decides to respect friendship at the cost of almost everything else was really beautiful. It was well written and well translated. Liked it a lot!
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I absolutely loved this novel. It was so different from what I usually read in a very good way. The characters were so unique and intriguing. The translator did a wonderful job.
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This story follows Yunjae's difficulty in maneuvering life due to his condition of not being able to feel most emotions. The book is divided into four parts which are well organized and defined by his different relationships with other people. Family, friends, and his curiosity of feelings. This was a smooth read that kept my attention the whole time. It felt fast-paced and the plot moved along nicely. It is not easy to relate to Yunjae but as a reader, I did feel empathy for him the whole time. I did not expect the ending but that is because Yunjae's actions were not expected. It was a lovely ending and I wholly recommend this book.
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