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A young man meets a handsome cat at a gay bar. The cat is repulsive yet charming; adoring but scornful. The man is hooked. In Statovci’s first novel, surreal encounters (like this one) evoke the alienation and exile felt by refugees used to everywhere playing “the other”. Like Exit West, this debut employs just enough magical realism to displace the reader; My Cat Yugoslavia is a perceptual marvel. ~Reviewed by Aubrey Restifo
“See, the problem in this world ain’t sinners, or even the dead. It is men who will step on anyone who stands in the way of their pursuit of power.” Zombies and a very different post-Gettysburg America set the stage for one of the most memorable and subversive dystopias in YA history. Even those hesitant to grapple with fantasy will love this novel’s ruthless and unstoppable Jane McKeene! ~Aubrey Restifo
Daniel Cheng attends a competitive high school in Cupertino, where it seems like every one of his classmates is preparing to go to an Ivy of their choice. But Daniel, the “artist” of the senior class, applies only to RISD—and is shocked when he’s accepted early. As his close friends await college decision letters (and continue to pad their resumes), Daniel uses his newfound “freedom” from the intensity of his studies to examine his parents’ secretive past—and manages to disrupt everything he’s ever known. Profound, moving, and never too perfect, this novel is an exceptional meditation on the meaning of family and being an immigrant. ~Aubrey Restifo
Is humanity sentient enough? When the civilized universe stumbles upon Earth, alien ambassadors issue humans an ultimatum: send the planet's best musical talent to compete in a Eurovision-style contest, or face total annihilation. Space Opera is brilliant Douglas Adams-type crack, led by the unforgettable Bowie-wannabe, Decibel Jones, a washed out "ethereal glamtrash satyr". I read it in one incredible sitting; I could read this kind of first contact novel over and over again. ~ Reviewed by Aubrey Restifo
This impressive debut novel weaves an unflinching and provocative portrait of the challenges that face urban Native Americans today. Told through an assemblage of character studies, There There links together the experiences of multiple generations to show how small instances of erasure and elision become quite tangible over time—in this case, taking the shape of an incomprehensible tragedy in the novel's stunning conclusion. –Aubrey Restifo