We Contain Multitudes


Nominated for the Ontario Library Association’s White Pine Award


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.

Click here for the We Contain Multitudes Book Club Guide

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Praise for We Contain Multitudes

One of Bookpage’s Top 10 YA Novels of 2019

One of BookRiot’s 25 Awesome 2019 Queer YA Books to Preorder Right Now

One of CBC’s 29 Canadian Kids Books & YA to Look For in Spring 2019

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

“This is an absolutely extraordinary work of fiction that proves the epistolary novel is an art form. Kurl and Jo are characters to die for, emotionally compelling and empathetic. . . . [This novel] is not to be missed.”  –starred review, Michael Cart, Booklist 

“The dual narrative differs from other storytelling duets in that these points of view aren’t separate; the written perceptions of one character are scrutinized and shared through the lens of the other. A love story, a therapy session, a reason to read Whitman. . . Your reason to root for love—and the power of the pen.     –starred review, Kirkus

“There’s something about seeing the world through these boys’ separate points of view that brings the story to life in a visceral way. We Contain Multitudes is a heartbreaker in many ways, but it’s ultimately a beautiful story about how love (and poetry) are sometimes enough to carry the day.”    –starred review, Heather Seggel, Bookpage

“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 Shelf Awareness

“The title of this book is incredibly fitting. Jonathan and Kurl are two complex and fascinating characters, and they instantly drew me into the world created by their letters and their love. It’s an astonishing romance and character study that also happens to be full of gorgeous writing.”   — Robin Talley, author of Lies We Tell Ourselves and Pulp

We Contain Multitudes is an emotional journey, both heartbreaking and healing. A true love letter to the way family, friendships, and first loves slowly peel away our carefully-constructed walls to the layers beneath. Henstra’s words are a universe I never want to escape.”   -–Julian Winters, author of Running With Lions

“Sarah Henstra has crafted a nuanced text that is heartbreaking, hopeful, poetic, and captivating, creating a literary space for two seemingly disparate young men to forge a bond and discover that they each truly do contain multitudes!”                             –Rob Bittner, CM: Canadian Review of Materials