If You Still Recognise Me

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Pub Date 9 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 11 Jun 2022
Little Tiger Group, Stripes Publishing

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If you loved Heartstopper and need more feel-good LGBTQ+ romance - If You Still Recognise Me is the one for you!

Elsie has a crush on Ada, the only person in the world who truly understands her. Unfortunately, they’ve never met in real life and Ada lives an ocean away. But Elsie has decided it’s now or never to tell Ada how she feels. That is, until her long-lost best friend Joan walks back into her life.

In a summer of repairing broken connections and building surprising new ones, Elsie realises that she isn’t nearly as alone as she thought. But now she has a choice to make…

A lyrical contemporary story about falling in love and finding yourself in the process, for fans of THE BLACK FLAMINGO, THE FALLING IN LOVE MONTAGE and Alice Oseman.

“An epic fandom, a scavenger hunt for a lost love and an ode to cultural inheritance – this is a wonderfully heartfelt and joyously queer romance” - Lauren James, author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

“If You Still Recognise Me is a poignant, perfectly formed debut about queer love, fandom and family.” - Lex Croucher, author of Reputation

“A beautiful and intricately layered tale of friendship, fandom and finding yourself – I absolutely adored it.” - Sophie Cameron, author of Out of the Blue

“Exploring the bonds of friendship, family, fandom, culture and queer community, this is a story about finding who you really are at the heart of all the things you love.” - Sera Milano, author of This Can Never Not Be Real

"A celebration of fannish glee, queer joy and family in all senses of the word. If You Still Recognise Me asks what it means to find yourself, when we are all more than a single story. I adored it." - Kat Dunn, author of Dangerous Remedy

“Beautifully written with moments of sheer lyricism. A must-read for humans of all ages and walks of life. I loved it so much!” - Wibke Brueggemann, author of Love is for Losers

“If You Still Recognise Me by Cynthia So is just so SO perfect. Refreshing, relatable and raw in its honesty, this is the book I wish I'd had as a queer teen discovering my identity.” - Sarah Underwood, author of Lies We Sing to the Sea

“If You Still Recognise Me is a moving and heart-warming story about queer love, family, culture and fandom and So's has a uniquely poetic style that sees beauty in the everyday and makes the familiar feel fresh and new” - Ciara Smyth, author of Not My Problem

“This wonderful book is both a tender coming-of-age romance and a tapestry of queer identity that spans oceans, generations, and stages of life ... Suffused with queer wistfulness and the ache to be known, So’s debut is as intimate and revelatory as the first touch of a first crush’s hand.” - Riley Redgate, author of Seven Ways We Lie

“A lyrical, complex tale of friendship, family, and all the stories we tell ourselves – true and not – about what it means to love” - Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of When We Were Infinite

“Cynthia So deftly weaves a story that explores queerness, love, and relationships across distance, both geographical and time. An accomplished debut with shades of Nina LaCour, If You Still Recognise Me is the perfect summer-time read.” - Lizzie Huxley-Jones, author and editor
If you loved Heartstopper and need more feel-good LGBTQ+ romance - If You Still Recognise Me is the one for you!

Elsie has a crush on Ada, the only person in the world who truly understands her...

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ISBN 9781788953443
PRICE £8.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

Easily one of my favourite books of the year so far. I'm so sure I will reread this lots. This is the kind of comfort read that makes you cry with its tender and nuanced story. The writing was so thoughtful and so beautiful, and there's so much quiet depth in this book that makes it stand out in the YA contemporary genre.

What makes this stand out the most is the main character's relationships with her family members, particularly her mother, grandmother and uncle, that are explored with so much care.

One thing I particularly loved is that this book doesn't end with the main character neatly coming out to her parents and grandmother, like you might expect. I feel like we often see a focus on coming out as the end goal in a book for the character to live happily ever after, and I love how this took the pressure off.

I also however really loved the friendships and the romance - which is estranged childhood friends to lovers! And also the inclusion of queer people from different generations.

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If You Still Recognise Me is a wonderful portrayal of self exploration, female and f-m friendships, the complexity of being queer in a family of colour, and struggling with familial and societal expectations. Elsie goes on a journey of introspection as she exits high school, begins navigating her love life while being a queer woman of color, healing from a toxic relationship, and growing closer to her family before she takes on university. The story is very character-driven, but I still loved the plot and how it tied into Elsie’s character development. I loved the progression of her character more than anything else in this novel.

Throughout this, Elsie’s voice was so distinct. I’ve said before that I’m not always a fan of first person POVs but this has proved to be yet another exception. This was definitely brilliant. I loved being in Elsie’s mind, experiencing her thoughts and emotions. They were never dramaticised, and always felt genuine and real. I loved the writing style. It was straightforward and easy to understand and immerse yourself in. I found the dialogue to be perfect, not at all cringey in a way that some ya novels written by anyone over 20 usually are. Cynthia So covered so many important topics including sexuality, gender expression, asian fetishization, the eurocentric beauty standard, and more. And they were all handled with such care and consideration. It was nuanced the way it delved into Elsie’s mind as she discovered (or re-discovered) things about herself.

I can’t even put into words how much I love this book. Is this a romance? Yes. But at its core, If You Still Recognise Me is a story about love. Not just romantic love, but platonic, familial, and self love. We watch Elsie as she grows to love herself, and realize she is worthy of being loved—by her friends, crush, family, but most importantly, herself. It was so heartwarming and comforting. I FLEW through this book at light speed. Did not put it down until I physically needed to and had a smile on my face the whole time. I did not want this book to end. If I had my way, it would keep going on forever and I’d never get tired of reading it.

The things spoken about in this novel were so thoughtful and thought-provoking. The representation of not just different sexualities, but cultures filled me with such joy I have no way to describe it. There’s nothing like seeing the food you eat, the language you speak, your own traditions and little customs, represented on page after not just years, but decades, of seeing the same white, western, euro-centric worldview in books.

I was happy that by the end Elsie hadn’t come out to her family. It was very realistic. It didn’t diminish her queer identity in any way and that’s the point. Coming out was never the end goal. It’s never as neat and easy as shown in a lot of the queer media we already have and this book acknowledges that. Just getting stories about queer people BEING queer is so great in itself. We didn’t NEED Elsie to come out because her story was meaningful and impactful regardless. There also came the added bonus of multiple queer people being happy and loved in every generation.

I could not get over how accurately this book portrayed what it’s like to be in a fandom space—especially when you’re a queer poc. As someone who reads and writes fanfiction, who obsesses over different forms of media in the exact same way shown in this book, I’ve never felt so seen. I’ve made many close friends online and this perfectly captured the way an online space can be freeing and online friendships can be just as important and deep as irl frienships. Also the way being in a fandom is very inclusive in a way that many queer people cannot experience irl.

Everything hit me like a freight train I won’t lie. I have never felt so seen in all my years reading. Elsie and the supporting cast were so wonderful in every way. Every single one of the characters were relatable. From Elsie’s inner turmoil, to Felix’s distress at being ace in a sex-dominated space, Ritika’s unsurity of who she likes after years of being complacent, and Joan’s complicated relationship with her family. All these things coupled together made a cocktail of fierce emotions stir within me. It goes so deep without making a spectacle of itself. Nothing was overly exaggerated to the point that it became satirical. It was quiet with its revelations. Even though it’s a ya novel, it could encompass and encapsulate many generations of shared experiences between queer poc. That’s what a great book does. It’s so good that it transcends its genre to be loved by even those outside of who it’s intended for.

Reading this felt like a love letter to my teenager self, and I know that whatever age you are, whether you’re the target audience or even much older, you’ll enjoy and love this book. I especially hope that queer teens get to read it and feel as seen as I do. So if you’re a fan of mutual pining, idiots in love, yearning, childhood-friends-to-lovers. sweetness, just tooth-rotting fluff, this is for you.

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Well written with a fantastic story and incredibly well developed characters. Both heart-warming and heart-wrenching that dealt with a protagonist wanting to come out to their family and the relationship dynamics with those family mebers. It is a beautiful book. I loved it.

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Thank you netgalley for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review. I had seen great reviews for this book, so I went into it with high expectations, and it definitely did not disappoint! It was everything I wanted and more. I loved the characters and their arcs, and how the plot developed moving towards the ending. Taking all of this into consideration, I’m going to give this book 5/5 stars because I absolutely adored it and cannot see much room for improvement.

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Okay I LOVED this book mainly because it’s set in Oxford which is where I’ve been studying for the last three years and so I recognised a lot of places. I also really related to the fandom references and online friends in general which made this book so much more enjoyable. The characters so immediately likeable and I loved the realism of friendships especially with Joan and Elise’s growth from the start. The plot was really enjoyable I loved how it all linked back together with letters and confessing love through letters.🥺 I highly recommend this book, such a fast read as well, most of it i actually read whilst going to Oxford which was perfect

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This book was very cute! I devoured it in a day and although I appreciate the ending, I wish that it was ever so slightly longer as I want to know how future events unfold! The whole story was warm and happy, and I would recommend it to fans of YA queer literature. The only downside for me was that some of the dialogue felt a bit too "fanfic-y" for my tastes, but that kind of ties in with the style anyway.

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Loved this! Brilliant characterisation, well written story dealing with coming out as a young adult.

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Easily one of my favourite books of the year so far. I'm so sure I will read this lots. This is the kind of comfort read that makes you cry with its tender story. The writing was so thoughtful and so beautiful, and there's so much depth in this book that makes it stand out in the YA genre.

What makes this stand out the most is the main character's relationships with her family members, particularly her mother, grandmother and uncle, that are explored with so much care.

One thing I particularly loved is that this book doesn't end with the main character neatly coming out to her parents and grandmother, like you might expect. I feel like we often see a focus on coming out as the end goal in a book for the character to live happily ever after, and I love how this took the pressure off.

I also however really loved the friendships and the romance - which is estranged childhood friends to lovers!

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Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Alice Oseman, this cute, queer romantic comedy follows a young woman in the last summer before university on a quest to find her crush’s grandmothers’ potential long-lost love. She hopes that by doing so she can finally confess her love and her crush will confess right back. But she never realized that she would reconnect with her own long-lost friend and that sparks would fly. I loved the warmth that just radiates from this novel as we follow along on Elsie’s quest for love. Everything about it felt so genuine and so real; what Elsie experiences, from her crushes to her friendships to her heartbreaks, as well as her tumultuous late-teen emotions, I could see my younger self in her. A perfect summer read.

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If You Still Recognise Me follows Elsie, an 18 year old bisexual girl, on a journey of self discovery and reconnecting with old friends. This is a very character driven story, although the plot still tied in very well with Elsie's character development. This book contains so much important representation, queer main and side characters, queer bipoc characters, asexual questioning, queer older people, non-binary rep. This is such a cute comfort read and very much a queer coming of age story. I appreciated that the main goal was not the main character coming out to her family, as is with a lot of queer novels.

I also really enjoyed the evolution of her relationships within her family, especially her reconnection with Uncle Kevin. There was so much love in this book, not just romantic, but familial and platonic. The exploration of deeper topics, homophobia, racism and asian-fetishism, was done with so much care and consideration.
This is such a joyous book and some much needed representation for queer teens.

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Content Warnings — Emotionally abusive relationship, homophobia and racism.

Rating — ⭑ ⭑ ⭑ ⭑ ⭑⁣⁣⁣

𝙄𝙁 𝙔𝙊𝙐 𝙎𝙏𝙄𝙇𝙇 𝙍𝙀𝘾𝙊𝙂𝙉𝙄𝙎𝙀 𝙈𝙀, follows Elsie, a young bisexual girl as she learns what her sexuality means to her and her life as a whole through the way of her friends, her fandoms and most importantly, her found family.

The novel is truly a complex love letter to those who have grown up with fandoms as a central comfort and is a refreshing display of what representation should be. The book itself is so beautifully written and the way in which culture, sexuality and relationships are intertwined throughout the book, is so heart achingly emotional to read. We aren’t only just given over five main queer and poc teenagers, we also get to read about the reconnecting of deep relationships that will almost most definitely make you want to pull the tissues out! This is definitely a novel that makes people who feel unseen and unheard, feel represented and loved without even asking.

A truly beautifully crafted coming of age debut novel by Cynthia So and I cannot wait to see what they write next. I extremely recommend giving this book a read when it comes out the 9th of June, this year.

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I found If You Still Recognise Me to be a joyful book, which really resonated with me. I adored all of the characters, and liked that they were such a mix - they all had their own interests and desires, and were really well fleshed out. I particularly enjoyed the combination of a coming of age story with the tales of much older queer women as well - in general, the adult characters all felt well embodied, something that's often lacking in YA. The view into fandom also felt very realistic - especially the way in which various characters use it to explore aspects of themselves.
I raced through this in under 24 hours, and it made me well up a few times - both signs of success!

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I read this in one sitting and was absolutely enthralled, this has got to be the standout YA debut of the year.

‘If you still recognise me’ is a joyous, queer coming-of-age story with predominantly Asian MCs. Elsie is bisexual, a comic book nerd and grappling with growing feelings for her online best friend - an issue made only more complex when said best friend lives thousands of miles away.

This book honestly felt like what I’ve been waiting for my whole life. Though YA, a genre I often hesitate to dip into, this was a masterfully constructed story and I cannot wait to see what else the author writes.

Each relationship - familial, platonic or romantic is written with such attention to detail and precision that you get a real insight into the dynamics of each. As an own voices reviewer; the family dynamics of an East Asian family were so unashamedly raw, this - not tokenism and harmful stereotypes - is the type of representation we need. It was a book about relationships - romance is what is highlighted on the synopsis but you soon discover it is about far more; about generational trauma, uncovering family history, coming to terms with abuse and so many other key themes.

I cant not touch on what else really stood out to me - the portrayal of fandom culture. Often authors get this *so* wrong, having their teenage MCs speak in a way that sounds like they’ve logged onto urbandictionary, typed in youth slang and not bothered to look at the definitions - but Cynthia was spot on. It felt like a love letter to all of us readers who grew up immersed in those spaces, it almost me nostalgic for a time where waiting for the newest update was my primary issue.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC. Release date is June 8th (!!), and this should be the next ‘big’ book of the year.

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A beautiful coming-of-age story that really captures the complexities of friendship, sexuality, love, relationships, family and fandom.

Elsie is a Chinese-British girl who's family come from Hong Kong but lives in Oxford. She's bi but not out to her family, and crushing on Ada, a girl from America she met online because they both ship the same f/f couple in their fav comic. Her Po Po (Grandma) is coming to stay with them after the death of her Gung Gung (Grandad) in Hong Kong, even though the family have not been to visit for 8 years for reasons Elsie doesn't understand. Then she surprises runs into Joan, her childhood best friend who left for Hong Kong when they were kids, and fell completely out of touch.

Elsie's life really come alive on the page, as does that of her friends and family. So's writing is engaging and well crafted, full of lines that really hit home. Elsie's struggle to navigate her feelings - romantic and platonic - for both Ada and Joan and also recover from a previous toxic relationship is excellently captured and explored.

We also get a wide array of LGBTQ+ characters from different backgrounds and generations which help to explore some of the different experiences LGBTQ+ people can have.

I loved all the little references to fandom and fandom spaces, and also how it shows the impact can have on people's lives (Elsie, Joan and Elsie's mum later bonding over manga, for example.)

I also loved the letters from Theresa (Ada's grandma's 'friend' who Elsie determines to find) which beautifully captured her longing and grief after Ada's grandma, Becca, leaves to get married in America.

Overall, this was a wonderful queer YA story that I highly recommend!

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This is easily one of the best YA books I have read in a long time and one of my favourite reads of the year so far! It is a beautiful exploration of queerness that is simultaneously realistic and optimistic. I wish I could have read it when I was younger as the representation of fandom culture and relationships and how queerness interacts with that was something I would have love to have seen explored so honestly.

I have seen this book compared to a sapphic Heartstopper and I definitely agree with the comparison. They are both heartwarming queer joy with nuanced and realistic relationships that explore the intersection between queerness and relationships, school and self image in a way that is honest and realistic. However, as much as the the warmth and joy these books both bring are similar, this book should be seen as its own thing and although I definitely recommend it to fans of Heartstopper, I would not call it the sapphic version.

More than just being a sapphic YA romance, it is a story of family, heritage, friendship and connection which was done beautifully. It may have been a sweet story but that doesn't take away from the permeating depth that brings nuance to each relationship and interaction. It was a very real look into the difficulties that can come in family and friendships, particularly from a queer perspective. I loved the interplay of culture and race and how that affected the love shown in this book. The role of fandom was also done fantastically. Fandom and the internet has always acted as a safe space, particularly for young queer teens as they get to see and understand themselves and make friends who know and fully accept them through this. I loved how realistically this was portrayed and the importance put on it throughout.

Also, the representation in this book is fantastic. I really enjoyed reading about Elsie and her family and their culture, and particularly how love and queerness plays into this. On top of this, it was lovely to see so many queer identities represented and integrated so well and, more than this, in so many age groups. We always see stories about teenagers, but it was so lovely to see these identities and stories being represented in adults too.

I can't wait to read everything that Cynthia So comes out with because this book was wonderful.


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"If You Recognise Me" is an incredible debut that follows 18 year old Elsie during her last summer at home before she moves away for university.

This book has incredible representation, and necessary discussions as to how important representation is not only for queer people accepting themselves but also for non-queer people to become accepting. Also, highlighting how damaging it can be when the representation we have is overwhelmingly white.

This book had me feeling so nostalgic for my teen years, I was Elise. Obsessed with fandom, crushing on an actress and watching everything she had ever been in, using tumblr as an outlet, making edits and gifs and consuming novel length fan fiction daily. I really loved this aspect, and haven't ever seen it portrayed so accurately before.

There were also so many great parts that explain what it's really like to grow up queer, such as distancing yourself from your family once you realise you are queer, having to convince yourself that your family does love you unconditionally, thinking it will be easier to come out once you get a girlfriend, being worried about how you dress will be perceived etc. Once again, something that made me feel seen in a way I haven't before. Cynthia So is a truly special author.

Honestly can't wait to buy a copy and reread, this book felt like healing to me. Thank you to Cynthia So for writing If You Still Recognise Me, and to the Little Tiger Group and Netgalley for providing a copy for review.

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