Wild Asses of the Mojave Desert
by Lis Anna-Langston
Mapleton Press

"Thinking. Overthinking. Rethinking. God, I thought a lot."

Skye returns to New Mexico after six years, arriving through the wreckage of a failed relationship and searching for connection and meaning with her childhood friends. She comes home to find that some relationships have changed, but she settles quickly into an old groove with Trevor, whose heart she broke when she left. She also falls into an easy friendship with Dylan, who understands her deeply and helps her navigate the yearning and indecision that plague her life. Her sister and her parents welcome her home but have become strangers to Skye as their lives have moved on without her. In the desert backdrop of their intertwined stories, strange lights, sightings, and a glowing rock draw the group into a mystery that echoes the search for meaning Skye so desperately seeks in her life and the desert nights.

With lyrical prose and philosophical conversation, Skye's relationships light up as fiercely as the streaks marking the desert sky at night. This novel about friendship, nostalgia, and finding oneself is funny and tender, moving and poetic, while standing firmly in hope and love. The characters are thinkers, overthinkers really, who are trying to find their way by asking the deep questions of life with wide-eyed wonder and talking through life's uncertainties. They fearlessly confront the choices they've made, examining their desires and their mistakes. The result is a smart, engaging novel depicting a young woman's search for the people and place she will call home. Returning home is a powerful and effective plot device that, in this author's hands, feels vibrant and new partly because of the fully realized characters and strong dialogue that endow the relationships with wise and vivid truths about life.

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