Bianca Torre is Afraid of Everything is a comedic thriller. It’s one of those books which is difficult to explain, but 100% worth the read. There’s a great tone with amazing characters and great sense of mystery. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Murder most fowl? In this sardonic and campy YA thriller, an anxious, introverted nonbinary teen birder somehow finds themself solving a murder mystery with their neighbor/fellow anime lover, all while falling for a cute girl from their birding group . . . and trying not to get murdered.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Torre is an avid birder undergoing a gender identity crisis and grappling with an ever-growing list of fears. Some, like Fear #6: Initiating Conversation, keep them constrained, forcing them to watch birds from the telescope in their bedroom. And, occasionally, their neighbors. When their gaze wanders from the birds to one particular window across the street, Bianca witnesses a creepy plague-masked murderer take their neighbor’s life. Worse, the death is ruled a suicide, forcing Bianca to make a choice—succumb to their long list of fears (including #3: Murder and #55: Breaking into a Dead Guy’s Apartment) or investigate what happened.
Bianca enlists the help of their friend Anderson Coleman, but the two have more knowledge of anime than true crime. As Bianca and Anderson dig deeper into the murder with a little help from Bianca’s crush and fellow birding aficionado, Elaine Yee (#13: Beautiful People, #11: Parents Discovering They’re A Raging Lesbian), the trio uncovers a conspiracy much larger—and weirder—than imagined. But when the killer catches wind of the investigation, Bianca’s #1 fear of public speaking doesn’t sound so bad compared to the threat of being silenced for good.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Bianca Torre is Afraid of Everything has a giant heart. Bianca is one of those characters with a strong internal narration which will sweep you away. I wanted to be Bianca’s friend immediately. But not only is Bianca such a strong character, I love their friends and all the side characters. Even if they only have a few scenes, you can sense their depths and unique personality. Bianca Torre is Afraid of Everything is a book that screams character. It’s like one of those thrillers with inside jokes, charming characters, and a sense of fun.
I also adored how Bianca Torre is Afraid of Everything discusses fear and bravery. With a title like that, you have to wonder if Bianca’s fears will control them. But in this debut, Pucella Winans tells a story both about fear, but also about bravery. About realizing that we can be afraid, it’s not about eliminating fears, but about not allowing them to take away our agency. Bianca Torre is Afraid of Everything expertly navigates these thriller elements with a light hearted tone. If cozy thriller was ever a thing, this would be close!
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If you’ve been looking for a book that balances those scenes of high adrenaline and mystery, but also with jokes and amazing friends and family, this is for you. Find Bianca Torre is Afraid of Everything on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Bookshop.org, & The Book Depository.