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Published 14th April 2024

Gabi's Review

In an age where the media and fiction often focus on the suffering of victims of trauma and marginalisation, Andrew Boryga’s new novel Victim is a timely reminder of the potential for sensationalism and exploitation. The main character Javier Perez, born to a Latino immigrant family in the Bronx, first discovers the power of harnessing his marginal identity after his father’s death.  Garnering attention from well-meaning teachers, he capitalises on his narrative as an underprivileged person of colour by navigating a scholarship to an elite college.

However, the more Javi embroiders his story to exploit the cause of social justice, the more mired he becomes in obfuscating the truth for his own opportunistic ends. Ruthlessly ambitious, his powers of manipulation extend to his childhood friend Gio, recently released from prison, but the testing of the limits of friendship eventually encourages Javi to reflect on his behaviour and to realign his values.

Victim cleverly questions the concept of authenticity, the politics of social justice and diversity, and the price of manipulation. In the current climate of a predatory media keen for a sensational story, Victim is a salutary reminder of the extent to which we are also complicit in the exploitation of victims of trauma. 

Publishers Review

MOST ANTICIPATED- WASHINGTON POSTTIME, & MORE . There's a fine line between bending the truth and telling bold-faced lies, and Javier Perez is willing to cross it. Victim is a fearless satire about a hustler from the Bronx who sees through the veneer of diversity initiatives and decides to cash in on the odd currency of identity.

"A crowning achievement." -New York Times Book Review "You will burn through Victim and find your hands scalded when you are done...Pitch perfect." -Xochitl Gonzalez, New York Times bestselling author of Olga Dies Dreaming

Javier Perez is a hustler from a family of hustlers. He learns from an early age how to play the game to his own advantage, how his background-murdered drug dealer dad, single cash-strapped mom, best friend serving time for gang activity-can be a key to doors he didn't even know existed. This kind of story, molded in the right way, is just what college admissions committees are looking for, and a full academic scholarship to a prestigious university brings Javi one step closer to his dream of becoming a famous writer.

As a college student, Javi embellishes his life story until there's not even a kernel of truth left. The only real connection to his past is the occasional letter he trades with his childhood best friend, Gio, who doesn't seem to care about Javi's newfound awareness of white privilege or the school-to-prison pipeline. Soon after Javi graduates, a viral essay transforms him from a writer on the rise to a journalist at a legendary magazine where the editors applaud his "unique perspective." But Gio more than anyone knows who Javi really is, and sees through his game. Once Gio's released from prison and Javi offers to cut him in on the deal, will he play along with Javi's charade, or will it all come crumbling down?