In this edition of Endnotes, we take a look at Zoë Bossiere's memoir Cactus Country, which, in a starred review, PW called "enthralling," adding, "This will resonate with anyone who’s longed for escape—from a hometown or their own body—but lacked an exit plan."

Here's how the book came together.

Zoë Bossiere, Author

“As a child in an era before much media representation of trans people, I couldn’t picture who I might become as an adult, what I might look like, or where I might end up. An avid reader, I longed for a book about a kid like me, whose assigned gender at birth didn’t match how they saw themself. It took me forever to begin writing Cactus Country, but once I started I couldn’t stop, each draft bringing me closer to the story I needed to read all those years ago.”

Abby Muller, Editor, Abrams Books

“I started reading Cactus Country on the subway and
could not stop. It had that something you always hope for: a sense of truth and momentum that is impossible to look away from. Before I pursued the book, I wanted to make sure that Zoë and I saw it the same way and wanted to take it in the same direction. Happily, we were in agreement, and after a great call, I put together an offer.”

Maggie Cooper, Agent, Aevitas Creative Management

“In publishing, we
always talk about the power of a book being ‘in the read,’ and that is exactly what I felt here: Zoë’s vivid storytelling transported me to Cactus Country almost immediately, and at the end of every chapter, I found myself eagerly turning to the next one.”

Kelly Winton, Designer and Artist

“The final design features multiple images from Zoë’s Arizona upbringing, including a teenage portrait, a dramatic sunset, and the camper van they called home. We added details like a beetle, javelina pig, and cacti, which helped ground the collage and give it sense of place. We used warm colors and ripped paper to capture a sort of teenage angst and coming-of-age feel, but one that remains earnest, warm, and tenderhearted.”