Mandeliene Smith's Rutting Season
The jacket description doesn't do this volume of nine short stories justice. The stories aren't of "girls behaving badly", like we're reading about out-of-control tweens or reckless-on-spring-break coeds. The central figures in these stories are individuals crushed under intense familial pressure: death, abuse, neglect (benign and otherwise).
Rutting Season by Mandeliene Smith
Electronic ARC provided by publisher
Smith's narrative style and easy characterization is envy-inducing; in a few paragraphs, she can convey a wealth of background. Mood and setting are bold, intense, impossible to ignore, and I read each story with a low-grade anxiety, desperate to know how things would shake out for each character. Of the nine, I was only 'eh' on two; the rest of the stories were tiny little universes exploding with life.