We Contain Multitudes


You undid me. That’s all I’m trying to report in this letter. You undid me, Kurl, in more ways than one.

When Walt Whitman fan Jonathan Hopkirk and football player Adam “Kurl” Kurlansky are partnered together in a weekly pen pal assignment, they don’t expect to get much out of it. With each letter, however, the two are led deeper into a friendship that eventually grows into love. But faced with homophobia, bullying, and devastating family secrets, Jonathan and Kurl must struggle to hold on to their relationship—and each other.

This gripping, gorgeously written novel celebrates love and life with engaging characters and stunning language, making it perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, Nina LaCour, and David Levithan.



Coming May 14, 2019 from Little, Brown (US) and Penguin Teen (Canada).

French rights have been sold to Pocket Jeunesse.

For translation rights inquiries contact Alvina Ling (alvinaling@hbgusa.com); For film/TV rights inquiries contact Rachel Letofsky (rletofsky@cookemcdermid.com)

Advance Praise for We Contain Multitudes

Galley Love of the Week (GLOW) selection, Shelf Awareness:

“The epistolary novel gets the contemporary young adult treatment in Sarah Henstra’s tender, unsparing We Contain Multitudes. Tenth-grader Jonathan Hopkirk–gay and sartorially inventive in a small, Minnesota town–is being mercilessly bullied. Adam “Kurl” Kurlansky had too few credits to graduate on time and is now in his fifth year of high school. The two are partnered up for an English project in which they must write one letter to each other a week for the entire semester. Henstra’s characters initially approach each other with hesitation, and her skill lies in painstakingly depicting each boy’s slow move toward vulnerability until a smoldering, secret romance begins. This exploration of self and sexuality is sure to be quickly embraced by fans of Love, Simon, They Both Die in the End and The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.”                                                                                                                                  –Siân Gaetano, editor, children’s and YA, Shelf Awareness