The novel is a vibrant portrait of the city, so tactile you almost shiver in the fog and vibrate to the Riot Grrrl beats ... Johnson's vivid portrait of '90s Portland is a warm welcome to any reader who wants to escape to a world where being gay is the norm ... Stray City adds to the conversation both by offering a very human story that goes beyond the coming out tale and in exploring the many ways people set restrictions around their sexuality.
More than a coming-out novel (though it’s that, too), this debut is an insightful and entertaining love letter to the LGBTQ community in Portland, Oregon ... Though the story dips into the grim reality of homophobic hate crimes (Brandon Teena and Matthew Shepard were both murdered in the ’90s), Stray City never loses its quirky point of view or Andy’s fresh perspective.
[H]ow clearly Johnson delineates the psychosexual dualities and prejudices of our culture, how effortlessly she instructs even as she entertains ... Stray City makes an expansive canvas, diverse and colorful, for a vibrant portrait of a woman coming into her own, in a city also coming into its own, brimming with music, art and beauty. Johnson’s debut is a thoughtful and joyous literary experience, one that celebrates its characters and liberally rewards its readers.