Stray City: Book summary and reviews of Stray City by Chelsey Johnson

Stray City

by Chelsey Johnson

Stray City by Chelsey Johnson X
Stray City by Chelsey Johnson
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2018
    432 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A warm, funny, and whip-smart debut novel about rebellious youth, inconceivable motherhood, and the complications of belonging - to a city, a culture, and a family - when none of them can quite contain who you really are.

All of us were refugees of the nuclear family...

Twenty-three-year-old artist Andrea Morales escaped her Midwestern Catholic childhood—and the closet—to create a home and life for herself within the thriving but insular lesbian underground of Portland, Oregon. But one drunken night, reeling from a bad breakup and a friend's betrayal, she recklessly crosses enemy lines and hooks up with a man. To her utter shock, Andrea soon discovers she's pregnant—and despite the concerns of her astonished circle of gay friends, she decides to have the baby.

A decade later, when her precocious daughter Lucia starts asking questions about the father she's never known, Andrea is forced to reconcile the past she hoped to leave behind with the life she's worked so hard to build.

A thoroughly modern and original anti-romantic comedy, Stray City is an unabashedly entertaining literary debut about the families we're born into and the families we choose, about finding yourself by breaking the rules, and making bad decisions for all the right reasons.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Spanning several eras, up to Andy's present day, this is a coming-out and coming-of-age story; a surprise-I'm-pregnant story; a will-they-or-won't-they love story; and an ode to a time and place we think we've heard everything about—and it's all utterly fresh." - Booklist

"Johnson taps into a nostalgia for a reader's youth and a simpler time, and the story keeps its vitality and humor throughout." - Publishers Weekly

"This is a good choice for readers looking for an enjoyable read embracing complex and believable characters with the added benefit of an affectionate portrait of underground culture in Portland in the 1990s." - Library Journal

"[A] welcome look at a happily unconventional family. Quirky and sweet." - Kirkus

"A humorous and heartfelt exploration of sexual identity and unconventional families." - The Millions

"Radically funny and truly insightful ... a brilliant emotional rollercoaster of a book, exploring what it means to create and sustain a family, and the difficulties of loving people—including yourself." - Nylon Magazine

"Insightful and brilliant, Stray City explores the stickiness of doing what's expected and the strange freedom born of contradiction. I tore through this novel like an orphaned reader seeking a home in its ragtag yet shimmering world." - Carrie Brownstein, New York Times bestselling author of Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl

"Stray City has it all. As funny as it is moving; as joyful, as radically communal, as it is lonesome ... Honestly, one of the most absorbing, finely-tuned books I've had the pleasure of falling down into. Chelsey Johnson is a wonder." - Justin Torres, bestselling author of We the Animals

"Written with wit and sensitivity and exquisite emotional intelligence, Stray City is an absolute pleasure to read. Chelsey Johnson is one of the most refreshing new voices in literature." - Jami Attenberg, New York Times bestselling author of The Middlesteins and All Grown Up

"A winsome novel about love and belonging—and the possibility of discovering both in the most unlikely of places, and among the most unexpected people. Tender and smart, Stray City is a fantastic debut from a huge talent." - Cristina Henríquez, bestselling author of The Book of Unknown Americans

"A love letter to Portland in the 90s, Stray City is a gorgeous, funny, sharply spot-on tale of growing up and making family again and again and again." - Michelle Tea, award-winning author of Valencia

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Chelsey Johnson received an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. Her stories and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, One Story, Ninth Letter, The Rumpus, and NPR's Selected Shorts, among other outlets. She has received fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and Signal Fire Arts. Born and raised in Northern Minnesota, she currently lives in Richmond, Virginia, and teaches at the College of William & Mary. This is her first novel.

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