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Victim: A Novel

NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST, TIME, USA TODAY, & MORE

“You will burn through Victim and find your hands scalded when you are done…Pitch perfect.” —Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming

There’s a fine line between bending the truth and telling bold-faced lies, and Javier Perez is willing to cross it. Victim is a fearless satire about a hustler from the Bronx who sees through the veneer of diversity initiatives and decides to cash in on the odd currency of identity.

Javier Perez is a hustler from a family of hustlers. He learns from an early age how to play the game to his own advantage, how his background—murdered drug dealer dad, single cash-strapped mom, best friend serving time for gang activity—can be a key to doors he didn’t even know existed. This kind of story, molded in the right way, is just what college admissions committees are looking for, and a full academic scholarship to a prestigious university brings Javi one step closer to his dream of becoming a famous writer.

As a college student, Javi embellishes his life story until there’s not even a kernel of truth left. The only real connection to his past is the occasional letter he trades with his childhood best friend, Gio, who doesn’t seem to care about Javi’s newfound awareness of white privilege or the school-to-prison pipeline. Soon after Javi graduates, a viral essay transforms him from a writer on the rise to a journalist at a legendary magazine where the editors applaud his “unique perspective.” But Gio more than anyone knows who Javi really is, and sees through his game. Once Gio’s released from prison and Javi offers to cut him in on the deal, will he play along with Javi’s charade, or will it all come crumbling down?

A sendup of virtue signaling and tear-jerking trauma plots written with the bite of Paul Beatty, Victim asks what real diversity looks like and how far one man is willing to go to make his story hit the right notes.

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