Nikhil Out Loud
From the acclaimed actor and Stonewall Honor–winning author of The Best at It, Maulik Pancholy, comes a new middle grade novel about a gay Indian American boy, the voice actor of a hit animated series, who learns the power of using his own voice after his family moves to a small town in Ohio.
Thirteen-year-old Nikhil Shah is the beloved voice actor for Raj Reddy on the hit animated series Raj Reddy in Outer Space. But being a star on TV doesn’t mean you have everything figured out behind the scenes. . . .
When his mom temporarily moves them to the small town in Ohio where she grew up to take care of Nikhil’s sick grandfather, Nikhil feels as out of orbit as his character.
Nikhil’s fame lands him the lead in the school musical, but he’s terrified that everyone will realize he’s a fraud once they find out he has stage fright. And when a group of conservative parents start to protest, making it clear they’re not happy with an openly gay TV star being in the starring role, Nikhil feels like his life would be easier if only he could be Raj Reddy full-time.
Then Nikhil wakes up one morning and hears a crack in his voice, which means his job playing Raj will have to come to an end. Life on earth is way more complicated than life on television. And some mysteries—like new friendships or a sick grandparent or finding the courage to speak out about what’s right—don’t wrap up neatly between commercial breaks.
Maulik Pancholy is an award-winning actor whose career has spanned hit television shows (Only Murders in the Building and 30 Rock), animated favorites (Phineas and Ferb, Sanjay and Craig, and Mira, Royal Detective), the Broadway stage, and films. He served on President Barack Obama’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and he is the cofounder of the antibullying campaign Act To Change. Maulik lives in Brooklyn, NY, with his husband, Ryan, and their dog, Arlo. His debut novel, The Best at It, was a Stonewall Honor Award winner
“Pancholy’s sophomore effort is a layered coming-of-age tale, melding puberty’s woes with familial expectations and grief…. The sweet, peck-on-the-cheek–level romance is delightfully middle school—as is the squeeworthy joy alongside more difficult moments. A timely affirmation that hate has no place in school.” -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Told in Nikhil’s earnest, compassionate narration, this look at authenticity and representation richly layers themes of family and community, and the support needed to grow into oneself.” -Publishers Weekly
"Absolutely charming! Nikhil Out Loud is a deeply heartfelt and moving story about identity, courage, and belonging. This is the exact kind of affirming story that kids need right now." -Jasmine Warga, Newbery Honor-winning author of Other Words for Home
“A charming, inspiring, edge-of-your-seat tale that will pull at your heartstrings as it celebrates the importance of acceptance, love, family, and true friendship in all its glorious diversity. The world needs this story right now!" -Veera Hiranandani, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Night Diary
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