Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, raves
“Beyond the well-crafted coming-of-age narrative, Miller gets every little detail about the South—from the way the sky greens before a storm to gas stations where Hank Williams Jr.’s 'Family Tradition' blares—just right. But it’s Jess’s earnest, searching voice, as she contemplates her parents, the trip, and their values, that lingers after Miller’s story has finished. In Jess, Miller has created a narrator worthy of comparison with those of contemporaries such as Karen Thompson Walker and of greats such as Carson McCullers.”
And Alexis Smith says
“The Last Days of California is the Sense and Sensibility of pre-Apocalypse America, and Jess and Elise may be my new favorite literary sisters: different as night and day, on a road trip to the Rapture with their Evangelical parents, they find they have nothing to lose but each other. Mary Miller is a ventriloquist of adolescent angst and a nervy surveyor of American culture.”
Monologue topics: photos, concretizing the experience for me, where you are, notecards, ventilating my anguish.
Teju Cole, writing for The New Yorker, says
"I found Elisa Gabbert’s The Self Unstable a wonderful surprise. It was the most intelligent and most intriguing thing I’ve read in a while, moving between lyric poetry, aphorism, and memoir, and with thoughts worth stealing on just about every page.”
And Make Magazine says
"Gabbert strikes a perfect balance between heart and head, between cleverness and earnestness, between language that demonstrates its own fallibility and language that is surprisingly, perfectly precise."
Monologue topics: the insufferably stupid anti-sunglasses stance of my early twenties, squinting.
Laura van den Berg raves
"Ravi Mangla's Understudies is a brilliant meditation on the private cost of celebrity, the longing to transcend the ordinary, and the seductive nature of performance. Darkly funny, sharply-observed, and terrifically moving, Understudies is an essential debut."
And Gary Lutz says
"Ravi Mangla's delightingly tight, micro-chaptered Understudies is an unassumingly beautiful and moving debut. It's elegantly and hilariously precise about everything it touches, and it touches almost everything human."
Monologue topics: repetition, rhyming, making beats, stuff, my annual purge.
Kirkus, in a starred review, says
“Scott is both compassionate moralist and master storyteller in this outstanding debut.”
And Tom Perrotta says
“The Kept starts out as a straightforward revenge narrative, then slowly deepens into something much more mysterious and compelling. James Scott has written a riveting and memorable debut novel.”
Monologue topics: New Year's, mail, iTunes reviews.