Northern Lights

Raymond Strom. Simon & Schuster, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9029-2
Strom’s challenging debut follows recent high school graduate Shane’s roundabout search for his mother. When his uncle kicks him out of the house in the summer of 1997, Shane goes looking for his mother, who abandoned him years before. He tracks her to the small, rust belt town of Holm, Minn., where the locals react suspiciously to his androgynous looks and long hair. He falls in with erratic drug dealer J and angry, spiteful Jenny, who introduce him to increasingly serious drugs. When not getting high with them, Shane incurs the unbidden wrath and terrifying threats of wannabe Klansman Sven Svenson and pursues a confusing sexual relationship with Russell, who only seeks Shane out when drunk. Despite Shane’s plans to leave Holm in the fall for college, he becomes attached. When he finally gets a lead on his mother’s whereabouts and leaves town to pursue it, Jenny’s desperate measures to help her drug-addled mother lead to horrifying consequences. Strom’s insightful navigation of family trauma, sexual identity, and small-town despair blends with his chilling depictions of drug abuse. This bleak, unsentimental novel will resonate with readers who like gritty coming-of-age tales. Agent: Adam Eaglin, Elyse Cheney Assoc. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/24/2018
Release date: 02/12/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-1-5011-9030-8
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-5011-9031-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-982627-93-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-982627-94-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-982627-95-9
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