Scanlan crafted this narrative from extensive interviews and it meets the definition of “novel” chiefly in the sense of being “new or unusual” in genre, rather than invention of character, plot, or voice. Letting her protagonist speak for herself—possibly literally—this immediate and immediately engaging work is the story of Sonia, who became absorbed in the world of horses at an early age, finding with them the companionship and understanding she missed from people. At 16 she fled her difficult home life for good, embarking on a long career as a trainer. It was a grueling, sometimes brutal life, made of long days, exhausting physical labor, injuries, and, for women, scorn and sexual assault. But Sonia thrived on it, and her monologue takes us into the rich culture and “particular language” of the racetrack, where Humpty Dumpty and Dark Side could name either a horse or a rider, and where, when a horse gallops, “there’s a thousand pounds of pressure held up by that one thin leg, that little hoof the size of a hand-held ashtray.”
Armfield’s first novel is a haunting story of grief and mystery set in the aftermath of a deep-sea exploration gone awry and recounted in the alternating voices of Leah, who was trapped in a submarine with little hope of resurfacing, and her wife, Miri, who loses her partner twice over, as the Leah who eventually returns is not the same one who left her six harrowing months before. Armfield’s lyrical prose deftly evokes the vastness of the sea and the claustrophobia of both the submarine and the women's suffering, especially the specific shock of suddenly finding your beloved a stranger.
Fear, desire, and teenage hormones run amok in Ojeda's unsettling debut novel. The author grapples with the terrors of adolescence and burgeoning womanhood through the experiences of Fernanda, Anneliese, and their friends, who create a world of their own in an abandoned building where they challenge each other to dares. Begun in an effort to gain control of the changes in this turbulent time of life, this imagined world--in service to a made-up White God--seems more and more real as it grows increasingly rife with horror and violence--a madness that turns to cruelty and pushes the girls' teacher to the brink of sanity. There are consequences, of course, but as Anneliese says, “It’s only fun if it’s dangerous.”