Reading this story feels like floating. Plus, it's set in Portland in 1992, and sure to make you feel nostalgic about your youth. Recommended By Junix S., Powells.com
The euphoric highs and the despairing lows of adolescence are explored here in Jaffe's Dryland. Julie tries to negotiate the crushing weight of her superstar brother while sorting out her confused emotions. She needs help to understand her own fogged mind, but the people she relies on only seem to hinder her, and she is caught in the undertow of muddy waters. A Portland-centric coming-of-age story that touches on the city's quirks and soggy personality, Dryland is a lovely little read. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
It's 1992, and the world is caught up in the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the Balkan Wars, but for Julie Winter, 15, the news is noise. In Portland, Oregon, Julie moves through her days in a series of negatives: the skaters she doesn't think are cute, the Guatemalan backpack she doesn't buy at the craft fair, the umbrella she refuses to carry despite the incessant rain. Her family life is routine and restrained, and no one talks about Julie's older brother, a one-time Olympic hopeful swimmer who now lives in self-imposed exile in Berlin. Julie has never considered swimming herself, until Alexis, the swim team captain, tries to recruit her. It's a dare, and a flirtation — and a chance for Julie to find her brother, or to finally let him go.
Sara Jaffe's engrossing debut novel, Dryland, is a funny, sad, tender, and sophisticated coming-of-age novel, that pierces the heart of adolescence, in all of it's complexity, drawing young adult and mature adult readers alike.
About the Author
Sara Jaffe's fiction has appeared in publications including Fence, BOMB, NOON, matchbook, and Paul Revere's Horse. She co-edited The Art of Touring (Yeti, 2009), an anthology of writing and visual art by musicians drawing on her experience as guitarist for post-punk band Erase Errata. She lives and teaches in Portland, OR.