Mr. Hsu’s luminous and tender-hearted story of this brief yet intense bond with his lost companion, a tale of joy and grief in the time of Nirvana and AOL chat rooms ... a nuanced and beautiful evocation of young adulthood in all its sloppy, exuberant glory. Mr. Hsu is particularly adept at locating those tiny rituals that take on outsize importance ... as it turns out, Ken’s promise is Mr. Hsu’s potential. The lost friend has provided a spur to action for the survivor, whose final, cathartic act of self-forgiveness closes out this wrenching and richly detailed tribute to a friend and to the enduring legacy of a foreshortened life.
... quietly wrenching ... To say that this book is about grief or coming-of-age doesn’t quite do it justice; nor is it mainly about being Asian American, even though there are glimmers of that too. Hsu captures the past by conveying both its mood and specificity ... This is a memoir that gathers power through accretion — all those moments and gestures that constitute experience, the bits and pieces that coalesce into a life ... Hsu is a subtle writer, not a showy one; the joy of Stay True sneaks up on you, and the wry jokes are threaded seamlessly throughout.