Nicola Dinan

Book cover for Bellies
Book cover for Bellies



Nicola Dinan

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"Smart, hilarious, and deeply moving." --Elliot Page

A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR from NPR, BookRiot and BookPage

Amazon Editors' Pick for Best Books of 2023

It begins as your typical boy meets boy. While out with friends at their local university drag night, Tom buys Ming a drink. Confident and witty, a magnetic young playwright, Ming is the perfect antidote to Tom's awkward energy, and their connection is instant. Tom finds himself deeply and desperately drawn into Ming's orbit, and on the cusp of graduation, he's already mapped out their future together. But shortly after they move to London to start their next chapter, Ming announces her intention to transition.

From London to Kuala Lumpur, New York to Cologne, we follow Tom and Ming as they face tectonic shifts in their relationship and friend circle in the wake of Ming's transition. Through a spiral of unforeseen crises--some personal, some professional, some life-altering--Tom and Ming are forced to confront the vastly different shapes their lives have taken since graduating, and each must answer the essential question: Is it worth losing a part of yourself to become who you are?

Buoyed by a voice as tender, effervescent and wryly funny as the cast of characters it centers, Bellies is an unforgettable story of youth, intimacy, hunger and heartbreak, at once boldly original yet fiercely familiar, which unabashedly holds a mirror up to our most vulnerable selves and desires.

Critical Reviews

A Recommended Read from: Elle * NPR * Cosmopolitan * Marie Claire * Harper's Bazaar * BookRiot * Electric Lit * LGBTQ Reads * Paste Magazine * LitHub * Publishers Weekly * BookPage * Writer's Digest * B&N Reads

"Beautiful and funny." -Torrey Peters

"As [Tom and Ming] navigate their relationship shifting, their friendships changing, and their careers developing, we experience their humor and heartbreak, and root for them as they reckon with their senses of self." -THESKIMM, Summer Reads You'll Be Itching to Binge

"The best kind of queer love story... This is a vulnerable, moving, riotously funny and deeply honest book. Bellies celebrates a hundred different kinds of transformation and, like the very best novels, has the power to transform its readers in unexpected ways." -BookPage, STARRED review

"A beautiful work of literature with fully realized, highly empathic characters; her [Dinan's] treatment of Ming's transition is superbly and insightfully handled. An important contribution to the slender body of transgender literature." --BOOKLIST, Starred Review

"Triumphant and humane." --ELLE, A Most Anticipated Book of 2023

"A grand, affecting story of shifting identities and shifting intimacy." --ELECTRIC LITERATURE, A Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Book of the Summer

"Gloriously queer... This novel is funny, smart, deeply nuanced, and full of characters who are fully human... It's one of the most poignant stories about queer and trans young adulthood I've read in ages." -BOOKRIOT

"Dinan's debut had me sold on premise alone. Then it completely won me through its complex relationships, immersive travels, found family, honest conversations, and mouthwatering descriptions of Malaysian food." -PASTE MAGAZINE

"A delicious, page turning summer read and debut from novelist Nicola Dinan. It unpacks so many complicated nuances of being queer and in your twenties. Romantic, sexy, vulnerable. First romance centering a transfemme I've read and loved published on a larger scale." -TOMMY DORFMAN

"I just read Nicola Dinan's novel Bellies. Nicola is an astounding writer and the book is smart, hilarious and deeply moving." -ELLIOT PAGE

"In growing up, we each have to gain a sense of the world. In these absolutely glowing pages, Tom and Ming make their way. They love and dream in ways that only youth can, but perhaps we all should. Dinan imbues this tale of identity and friendship with generosity, hope and that mighty keen touch of wit." -WEIKE WANG, AUTHOR OF JOAN IS OKAY

"With Bellies, Nicola Dinan has written an intimate odyssey - full of warmth and humor, punctuated with prose that's thrilling and tender and elegant and pungent. Dinan weaves an irresistibly queer love story within a scrupulously architectured world, offering a story about connection, loneliness, identity, and the many different forms that family can take. Thoughtful, seductive, and entirely engrossing - Bellies is already a classic." -BRYAN WASHINGTON, AUTHOR OF MEMORIAL

"In this dryly comedic, richly drawn portrait of friends and lovers in early adulthood, Nicola Dinan charts the complexities, contradictions, and joys of human entanglement, and reminds us of the inevitability of being changed by those we love. Bellies is a book that not only explores transformation, but transforms the reader, too. I loved this powerful, mortal, moving debut." -RACHEL KHONG, AUTHOR OF GOODBYE, VITAMIN

"Wry, vulnerable, chic, devastating, aflutter with supple insights into becoming dimensional and beholding the puzzle of other people." -JEREMY ATHERTON LIN, AUTHOR OF GAY BAR: WHY WE WENT OUT

"Bellies is a sumptuous, powerful novel, about the self, about food, about relationships but ultimately about finding yourself in a complicated world." -NIKESH SHUKLA, AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE GOOD IMMIGRANT

"Bellies, this glorious debut about the beautiful discomfort of being seen and known, hooked me from the very start. Nicola Dinan's prose is swift and immersive and the empathy with which she writes her characters' foibles, flaws, and faulty perceptions is boundless. Both tender and biting, Bellies has captured my whole heart." -ILANA MASAD, AUTHOR OF ALL MY MOTHER'S LOVERS

"A tender, emotional exploration of gender and sexual identity." ― MARIE CLAIRE (UK)

"The most hotly anticipated novel of the summer." ― HARPER'S BAZAAR (UK)

Publishing Information

Publisher: Hanover Square Press
Pub date: 2023-08-01
Length: 368 pages
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