Book Reviews

Review: The Minus One Club by Kekla Magoon

The Minus One Club is an intensely emotional story about grief, family, and queer questioning. I could not stop reading and fell in love with Kermit. The ways in which he’s struggling to process his grief and also just exist. Keep reading this book review to hear my full thoughts.


Fifteen-year-old Kermit Sanders knows grief and its all-encompassing shadows. After losing his beloved older sister in a tragic car accident, nothing quite punctures through the feelings of loss. Everywhere Kermit goes, he is reminded of her.

But then Kermit finds a mysterious invitation in his locker, signed anonymously with “-1.” He has no idea what he’s in for, but he shows up to find out. Dubbed the “Minus-One Club,” a group of his schoolmates has banded together as a form of moral support. The members have just one thing in common—they have all suffered the tragic loss of someone they loved.

The usual dividing lines between high school classes and cliques don’t apply inside the Minus-One Club, and Kermit’s secret crush, the handsome and happy-go-lucky Matt (and only out gay student at school), is also a part of the group. Slowly, Matt’s positive headstrong approach to life helps relieve Kermit of his constant despair.

But as Kermit grows closer to Matt, the light of his new life begins to show the cracks beneath the surface. When Matt puts himself in danger by avoiding his feelings, Kermit must find the strength to not only lift himself back up but to help the rest of the group from falling apart.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: homophobia, grief, religious bigotry, suicidal ideation, suicide attempt (SC), alcohol abuse

The Minus One Club begins about a club uniting grieving students. These feelings of loss that hollow us out. These moments where they’re there for each other, where they just understand each other without speaking, it forms the basis of The Minus One Club.All these memories of the past and their continual process of grief was heartbreaking. But as a whole, this book is about Kermit. About the pain he feels, but also the queer questioning, struggling with his relationship to religion, and also crushes.

Amidst The Minus Club there are also conversations about toxic masculinity, about the assumed heteronormativity. With short chapters, it makes The Minus Club gripping. We are rooting for Kermit to figure out pieces of who he is. By showing memories of Kermit and his sister, it also portrays bittersweet moments of love, but also pain. The Minus Club is a story about the immense weights we carry. How we say we’re doing fine – but we aren’t. All the ways in which we can’t save someone from drowning if we are too.

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It’s a heavy hitter in terms of emotions. I enjoyed the spectrum of emotions The Minus One Club portrays. It doesn’t shy away from the difficult, from the complex, the contradictory. Find The Minus One Club on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Indiebound,, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite story that features questioning identity?

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