PositiveAtlanta Journal-ConstitutionCullen does a powerful job layering the challenges Horstmann faces as she fights for relevance in a male-dominated industry ... A cast of supporting female characters strengthen Cullen’s depiction of the constraints placed on women ... There’s an abundance of complex science packed into this narrative, much of it delivered as dialogue between characters, that could have been condensed. But Cullen effectively demonstrates how it took more than 30 years to eradicate polio largely because of male egoism ... A scrupulously researched history lesson wrapped up in a modern exploration of the evolving role women have played in society.
PositiveThe Atlanta Journal ConstitutionNkrumah has woven together a tragic tale — yet one not lacking humor or hope — about two people seeking to triumph over circumstances beyond their control ... Where is the humor and hope in this world bubbling with mistreatment and injustice? That would be Ella. She’s a ray of sunshine determined to bust through the murkiness that surrounds her, a fighter who clings to God’s promises and refuses to accept she’s invaluable. She is a marvel and an inspiration.
RaveThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution\"Escoffery paints a vivid picture of the first-generation perspective by scrutinizing the cultural differences between children who are born stateside and their parents who are not, and the complex ways this impacts their relationships. The result is a revealing, often humorous and somewhat twisted collection of stories that are as engrossing as they are memorable. One of the most delightful aspects of “If I Survive You” is Escoffery’s multifarious use of literary devices. From second person to dialect to present tense, his debut collection is rife with shifting mechanisms that provide intimate access to his characters and submerge the reader in the urgency of his world ... starts out intense and immersive but then settles into a character-driven collection of eight connected stories that shine a light on the fable and folly of contemporary life in the United States.\
John Wood Sweet
RaveThe Atlanta Journal Constitution... a probing work of historical nonfiction that exposes the gritty details surrounding the first published account of a rape trial in the United States. Set against the backdrop of a vibrant and burgeoning New York City fresh off the win of the Revolutionary war, Sweet’s narrative combines meticulous research with his extensive historical expertise to recreate a true-crime examination of the sexual duplicity inherent in early American society ... Sweet takes meticulous care not to usurp Lanah Sawyer from her own story. Instead, he produces a historical retelling that is decidedly pro-woman, highlighting a multitude of ways working-class females were held to an impossible standard of propriety. And by comparing 18th century mores with the ethos of today, he slams a gavel on the lack of progress society has made in 230 years regarding victim-shaming, abusing privilege and the female double standard ... delivers a fascinating dive into history while restoring Lanah’s place in her own narrative. Sweet even argues that Lanah’s disappearance into the mist of time could be how she reclaimed her autonomy. Once she was no longer available to be exploited, his hope is she found peace in her anonymity.
Ashleigh Bell Pedersen
RaveThe Atlanta Journal Constitution... a bayou fairytale swirling with evil \'haint\' spirits and the ghosts of those who have borne similar trials. Moods transform into weather, and the confusion of adolescence is pressed against the legacy of generational abuse in this pensive story of endurance and survival ... In Sunshine’s character, Pedersen has encapsulated the taut emotions of a rudderless child spinning about, aimlessly searching for guidance. Sunshine’s confusion, her desire to belong, her innate need for security and safety that just don’t exist in her world create lasting images that are hauntingly relatable and profoundly sad ... Pedersen’s depiction of Sunshine’s adolescent angst is fraught with tension and rich with compassion ... Emotionally wrought yet infused with a tender and accessible depiction of adolescent struggle, Crocodile Bride examines the ways victims of domestic violence mentally survive their realities and the mechanisms of perseverance passed through the generations.