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The Best at It Paperback – Oct. 6 2020

4.7 out of 5 stars 135 ratings

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From the Publisher

At HarperCollins, authors and their work are at the center of everything we do. We are proud to provide our authors with unprecedented editorial excellence, marketing reach, long-standing connections with booksellers, and insight into reader and consumer behavior. Consistently at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement, HarperCollins also uses digital technology to create unique reading experiences and expand the reach of our authors.

HarperCollins was founded by brothers James and John Harper in New York City in 1817 as J. and J. Harper, later Harper & Brothers. In 1987, as Harper & Row, it was acquired by News Corporation. The worldwide book group was formed following News Corporation's 1990 acquisition of the British publisher William Collins & Sons. Founded in 1819, William Collins & Sons published a range of Bibles, atlases, dictionaries, and reissued classics, expanding over the years to include legendary authors such as H. G. Wells, Agatha Christie, J. R. R. Tolkien, and C. S. Lewis.

The house of Mark Twain, the Brontë sisters, Thackeray, Dickens, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Margaret Wise Brown, HarperCollins has a long and rich history that reaches back to the early nineteenth century and offers our publishing team a depth of experience.

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Review

★ “The protagonist’s devastatingly honest voice pulls readers deeply into a fast-paced journey...  heartbreakingly authentic.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

★ “An impressive first novel…wholly engaging.” — ALA Booklist (starred review)

★ “This funny, uplifting story about identity… sends a powerful, positive message to young readers about choosing self-acceptance.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Rahul is a compelling protagonist... Hand this to middle grade readers who are navigating changing social dynamics as they come of age.” — School Library Journal

“An emotional, earnest, and genuine journey to self-love that had me crying, laughing, and cheering. Hilarious and heartbreaking and truly touching—I wanted nothing more than to reach through the pages and give Rahul a big hug for being brave, determined, and the best that he can be.” — Kacen Callender, Stonewall Award-winning author of Hurricane Child

“A funny, fun, big-hearted book filled with characters to adore. Rahul’s journey toward learning to stand up for himself and finding his place in the world is achingly emotionally authentic and deeply resonant. This novel is a joy from beginning to end.” — Anne Ursu, award-winning author of Breadcrumbs and The Lost Girl

“Exuberant... Every middle schooler will find themselves in this book.” — Soman Chainani, New York Times bestselling author of the School for Good and Evil series

About the Author

Maulik Pancholy is an award-winning actor whose career has spanned hit television shows (30 Rock, Whitney), animated favorites (Phineas and Ferb, Sanjay and Craig), 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 anti-bullying campaign Act to Change. Maulik lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his husband, Ryan, and his dog, T-Rex. The Best at It is his debut novel.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Balzer + Bray; Reprint edition (Oct. 6 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0062866427
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0062866424
  • Item weight ‏ : ‎ 218 g
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 18.29 x 1.27 x 24.89 cm
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 135 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
135 global ratings

Top reviews from Canada

There are 0 reviews and 3 ratings from Canada

Top reviews from other countries

Crystal
5.0 out of 5 stars sensitive and sweet
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on March 4, 2020
Verified Purchase
Anand
4.0 out of 5 stars How old were you when you wanted to discover more about yourself?
Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on June 27, 2021
Verified Purchase
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4.0 out of 5 stars How old were you when you wanted to discover more about yourself?
Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on June 27, 2021
Do you read #MiddleGradeBooks?

I have always been a HUGE FAN of Middle Grade Books. Relevant themes dealt with sensitivity, simplicity and clarity. #tween and #teen lives brought to life in all its chaos, confusion and also the journey of self-exploration.
#TheBestAtIt by @maulikpancholy
brings to life the colourful Indian culture of the diaspora in the U.S. I would have liked to see more role for the diverse representation in the book.
I loved the familial equations within the Kapoor clan. The potry and fart talk of the younger brother added more age-wise authenticity to the book.
I absolutely loved it that Ra experiments and puts in a lot of efforts in different fields, as part of his exploration of what he is best at. (I am a big advocate of just putting in efforts, irrespective of the results)
His #anxiety, #SexualOrientation etc are all part of his growth. That made the book more holistic, without being of just one thing.

Read for #PrideMonth #pride🌈 #ReadWithPride #SouthAsianDiaspora #LGBTQA , #MentalHealth
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Hemant Paste
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story!
Reviewed in India 🇮🇳 on July 31, 2021
Verified Purchase
Ruben Ortega
5.0 out of 5 stars Fácil de leer
Reviewed in Spain 🇪🇸 on July 25, 2020
Verified Purchase
E Tyler
5.0 out of 5 stars Why This Book is About YOU (Even If It Isn't)
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 5, 2019
Verified Purchase
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5.0 out of 5 stars Why This Book is About YOU (Even If It Isn't)
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on November 5, 2019
I met the author briefly at a book festival where I heard him speak on a panel of four. At the end of a full day of hearing from many capable authors about their work, I left with the intention of buying just one book: "The Best At It."

I am not a pre-teen myself. And while I’ve mentored teens and young adults for decades, I am not currently in the mix with middle-school kids. So why this book? The fact is that I found Maulik Pancholy so genuine and compelling as a speaker and real person—so passionate about this particular book project—that I couldn't help but follow my curiosity and see how he conveyed himself in writing.

I'm pleased to say that I found the book a delightfully accurate reflection of its author: genuine, compelling, passionate.

At the time of purchase, the bold-type header of the synopsis describes this book as a middle grade story “about a gay Indian American boy coming into his own.” And that is true. Yet at the same time—it isn’t.

I’ll illustrate what I mean by analogy. It seems "The Hobbit" was a favorite of both Maulik’s and mine growing up. I felt deeply connected to both Bilbo Baggins and his quest. But was Tolkien’s story “about a reluctant hobbit from The Shire who goes on a quest to save Middle Earth”? Again, yes—but then again, not really.

As far as I was concerned as a reader, it was about ME. I didn’t need to have hairy feet to feel self-conscious about my body. Nor did I need Gandolph’s call in order to experience the gnawing feeling that there must be more to life. I wasn’t thrust into keeping company with dwarves; yet I knew all too well the struggles of fitting in with people who felt very different from myself. With neither Gollum nor a mystical ring, I understood trial and the struggle of trying to do the right thing when faced with temptation; and though I never had to face Smaug, I had plenty of my own dragon’s lurking.

Apply the same mindset to “The Best At It.” Does it matter whether Bilbo or Rahul happen to be my age? Whether the culture, language and customs to which I’m being introduced are those of Middle Earth or of an Indian family from Indiana? Does it matter whether the person we most trust is a wizard or a wise old “Bhai”? Whether the character’s traveling companions are displaced dwarves or math league misfits? Whether the “Big Bad” is a scaly behemoth or the bully next door? Whether the quest is saving a fictional world—or saving ourselves?

That's all to say—I highly recommend "The Best At It" to YOU, regardless of whether or not your personal details happen to match those of the protagonist, Rahul, in every regard. No matter who you are as a reader, I believe you’ll see yourself in the pages of this story. You’ll get wrapped up in it. You'll feel it for reasons all your own.

And that is as every good story should be.
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