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Publisher's Summary

This story is, in short, about a monster meeting another monster. One of the monsters is me.

Yunjae was born with a brain condition called alexithymia that makes it hard for him to feel emotions like fear or anger. He does not have friends - the two almond-shaped neurons located deep in his brain have seen to that - but his devoted mother and grandmother aren’t fazed by his condition. Their little home above his mother’s used bookstore is decorated with colorful Post-it notes that remind him when to smile, when to say "thank you", and when to laugh. Yunjae grows up content, even happy, with his small family in this quiet, peaceful space. 

Then on Christmas Eve - Yunjae’s 16th birthday - everything changes. A shocking act of random violence shatters his world, leaving him alone and on his own. Struggling to cope with his loss, Yunjae retreats into silent isolation, until troubled teenager Gon arrives at his school and begins to bully Yunjae. Against all odds, tormentor and victim learn they have more in common than they realized. Gon is stumped by Yunjae’s impassive calm, while Yunjae thinks if he gets to know the hotheaded Gon, he might learn how to experience true feelings. Drawn by curiosity, the two strike up a surprising friendship. As Yunjae begins to open his life to new people - including a girl at school - something slowly changes inside him. And when Gon suddenly finds his life in danger, it is Yunjae who will step outside of every comfort zone he has created to perhaps become a most unlikely hero. 

The Emissary meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime in this poignant and triumphant story about how love, friendship, and persistence can change a life forever. 

©2020 Won-pyung Sohn (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

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What listeners say about Almond

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Love it and was so sad when it ended

I saw that BTS’s RM and Suga were reading this book in an ad and thought why not give it a try. I can honestly say, this book was excellent, even without a call out from BTS. Very easy to read and I couldn’t put it down. I was hooked. I wish I could read it again for the first time, I loved it so much. This book made me feel so many things. I highly recommend you read this!

1 person found this helpful

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Hope and growth mindset

This short novel is about friendship and change. It is beautifully written and filled with ebbs and flows of life.

Some books are best read. For me, this book was more meaningful by listening. My mind could do focus on the story and visuals.

It would be a discussion point for college freshmen or as a book club selection. As the story touched my heart, I kept wondering, how might others relate and react?

The book was recommended by RM from BTS; now I understand why.

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Adding to the fav list! 💜

I loved this story. I broke down so hard during the empathy experiment. Exquisite and beautifully thought provoking.

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Insanely Beautiful!

I don’t think there are any words in any language that can summarize how beautifully written this book is. Such an incredible story. Definitely worth the read/listen. 🤍

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Absolutely beautiful

I loved how realistically the characters were written. For such a small volume it expressed the realities of the human condition - depravity, heroism, joy, sorrow, cowardice, apathy, love, loyalty and friendship.
If only we could look beyond our prejudices and assumptions to experience empathy for others even when they may at first glance seem despicable.
It’s a book I will be recommending and gifting to my friends.

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Love this book a lot!

Evokes à variety of emotions and is a beautiful translation, would highly recommend it!

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absolutely wonderful

I loved this story. It was dark and uplifting all at the same time

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Wonderful

I relate heavily to both the protagpnist and his friends. The book reminds me heavily of Korean society, my second home. Simple writing. Great story. Highly recommended

I love the main character dearly.