For Ages
12 to 99

Readers of Adam Silvera (They Both Die at the End) and Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X) will pull out the tissues for this tender, quirky story of one seventeen-year-old boy's journey through first love and first heartbreak, guided by his personal hero, Oscar Wilde.

Words have always been more than enough for Ken Z, but when he meets Ran at the mall food court, everything changes. Beautiful, mysterious Ran opens the door to a number of firsts for Ken: first kiss, first love. But as quickly as he enters Ken's life, Ran disappears, and Ken Z is left wondering: Why love at all, if this is where it leads?

Letting it end there would be tragic. So, with the help of his best friends, the comfort of his haikus and lists, and even strange, surreal appearances by his hero, Oscar Wilde, Ken will find that love is worth more than the price of heartbreak.

"An unabashed love letter to Oscar Wilde, Cole Porter, and the arts' ability to give voice to human emotion." --Kirkus

"Linmark's novel is definitely offbeat and wild(e)ly imaginative...and a rich reading experience that would make the ineffable Oscar proud." --Booklist

"A big-hearted book that...always keeps love in its heart." --Abdi Nazemian author of Like a Love Story and The Authentics

"As surreal as it is real, as beautiful as it is painful, as playful as it is wise. --Randy Ribay, author of Patron Saints of Nothing

An Excerpt fromThe Importance of Being Wilde at Heart

There are two ways to begin this story.

a haiku

Inside a minute—
A blue-throated hummingbird’s One thousand heartbeats.


a prayer

Dear Oscar Wilde,
Patron Saint of Rebels and Bookworms:
This is Ken Z. I’m seventeen years old, a senior at South Kristol High. I live on an island in the middle of Nowhere, Pacific Ocean. So tiny you need a magnifying glass to spot us on the map.
Oscar, I met someone. There. It’s out. Whew. Yes, I met someone earlier this week, and this morning, I woke up to my heart beating a thousand hummingbird heartbeats. It felt new and strange, and anything new and strange to me is worth exploring, like Antarctica. I don’t know where my heart is zooming to. So if you could, please guide me through this unfamiliar map.
Your forever devotee, Ken Z 
PS His name is Ran.

Under the Cover