RaveThe New York Times Book Review... quippy, earnest and occasionally \'prone to reaching George Costanza levels of pettiness\' ... Her candid divulgences about sex, vaginal infections, abortion and body shame reveal how \'when you’re a young woman, simply having a body is a hazard\'; and these plainly told personal truths are as absorbing as a deep and wide-ranging conversation with a trusted friend ... The book proves that delicacy and strength are no opposites. It is easy to imagine a vulnerable reader gobbling up Sánchez’ honesty and her reassurances that sorrow does not preclude pleasure.
RaveThe New York Time Book Review... a rapturous account of his years with a boyfriend who suffered from suicidal depression ... Woven into this portrait of depression’s maelstrom is the author’s own queer coming-of-age. Of his abandoned Catholicism, Hewitt confesses that \'the shape of myself was molded by it, the routines of my body colored by its sounds and movements, the imagery of my mind rinsed with it,\' and to our benefit; even his depictions of cruising have a holy aura. As a dedicated nonfiction writer, I sometimes meet poets’ memoirs with a caginess that is utterly disgraced by a book like this, whose structure is nearly as immaculate as its sentences. Near the book’s end, the lovers collaborate on a poetic translation and work to \'piece together a voice in the space between us.\' Writing is always an act of translation, and Hewitt beautifully illuminates his own darknesses so that we might also see our own.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe first quarter of the novel is dedicated to such astute and indulgent articulations of grief and selfhood. Oscar is exactly as smart and self-pitying as he should be, sympathetically real though he embodies the stereotype of a philosophy professor ... If Oscar is at least a three-dimensional stereotype, the other characters are not nearly as faceted ... In many respects, it reads like the sort of fantasy a man like Oscar might invent for himself. Or, that a novelist might create to perfectly test his protagonist’s integrity.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe world Arnett creates for Jessa is lushly gross, as if the character’s aspirational impassivity has squeezed her emotions out into the material world, rendering everything as rude and compelling as her own suppressed vulnerability ... The outward conflicts presented at the outset of the novel find their resolutions, though the real story here is an inside job, and Arnett pulls it off with aplomb. Jessa is the disastrous heroine of our dreams; her job has never been to clean herself up, but to open herself ... the catharsis of Mostly Dead Things delivers.
RaveThe Brooklyn Rail\"I first encountered Ryan Berg’s writing as a jurist for a fellowship a few years back. Ryan’s submission blew me away. It was an excerpt from his just-published debut, No House to Call My Home: Love, Family, and Other Transgressions, which details the lives of queer youths of color with whom he worked as a caseworker in a group home. Here was a work both political and narrative, compassionate and scrutinizing—I am always looking for such books ... I already believed that narrative was a more accessible and powerful tool than rhetoric, and books like LeBlanc’s and Berg’s further proved this. In that 20-page sample I recognized what I have since read in the entirety of NHTCMH: the stories of queer homeless youths of color told with humility, self-scrutiny, intelligence, and love. It is a brave and conscientious book, an important book.\
RaveThe RumpusIt’s a pleasure to watch Nelson’s mind work on the page. She unspools the words and ideas of other thinkers, and threads them through the questions of her own life. She is often funny. And the nuances of her analysis, whether they reach a conclusion or not, go on and on. Even as she is pondering the nature and meaning of 'queerness,' she is queering the genre of nonfiction; she is depicting the inverted otherness of passing as a hetero family, and the vulnerability of outing herself ... Out of her entire body of work—nine books—it is clear that The Argonauts is by far Nelson’s most personal. The Argonauts is not oblique—it is glorious in its giving. The thoughts, now tethered to a story, have a mesmerizing motion, and their reach stretches even further off the page.