Edisto by Padgett Powell:
Edisto is the type of novel that is rewarding and difficult in all of the ways that Faulkner’s work is: it is heavy in Southern vernacular & highly stylistic. In parts, you might need to follow along with a pen to navigate passages. But, it is a dazzling novel. Told in the voice of a teenage prodigy who is at once intellectual and immature, it is a coming-of-age story set on an underdeveloped strip of land off the South Carolina coast. Edisto was Padgett Powell’s debut and my first exposure to his work, and now I want to read everything of his I can get my hands on.
Artemis by Andy Weir:
I put down two other books to get to read this quickly and was not disappointed. Weir has created a fun heist novel set on the moon; that he includes scientific detail about how things work is absolutely fantastic! Jazz is a porter on Artemis, the only city on the moon, and her job is augmented by the smuggling of minor contraband into the city. When she gets involved in a bigger game with a much bigger payout, she is not ready for the lengths others will go through to get their own payday. Following murder, corporate sabotage, and the Brazilian mafia, the crisis for the moon brings Jazz to a new perspective: she must be a better person than she ever has been if she and the society developed on Artemis are to survive. Fun to read and engaging, Weir has created a great sarcastic character that will be loved by fans the world over and a cool book that is a worthy successor to his hit The Martian.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner
The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner explores a girlhood coming-of-age narrative through an immersive, textured graphic novel/epistolary/intimate recollections experience. Minnie, loosely based on Gloeckner, delves into the seedy and masculine world of the 1970’s underground “comix” scene while navigating an affair with her mother’s boyfriend. Millie is effervescent, candid, and her observation of the world around her cracks with a sincerity and vulnerability that will pluck your heartstrings. I fell in love with Millie for her loudness and her lewdness in the face of the arduous task of growing up. This novel would also be a brilliant gift choice for any woman struggling to explain the differences between girlhood and boyhood narratives, because Gloeckner refuses to let any reader get away without truly stepping into Millie’s wooden clogs and too-tight flare jeans. I initially read Millie’s story as a trauma narrative, but upon finishing the novel, my soul felt a little more healed, because many of Millie’s experiences were mine and many other women and girl’s I have met. The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a healing, growing narrative. So, be strong like Millie and conquer the world. Or maybe just your neighborhood.