As before, just noting without specifying my preferences that I have read all of this year’s finalists for the Lodestar Award for Best New Writer.
Chaos on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer. Second paragraph of third chapter:
“Yes, ma’am,” I say.
Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao. Second paragraph of third chapter:
I lurch up from my straw bed, where I’ve been festering with a twisted stomach all night, turning my wooden hairpin over and over and over in my hand like a thick chopstick.
The Last Graduate, by Naomi Novik. Second paragraph of third chapter:
“I know you were,” I said grimly, taking it, but her expression didn’t change; probably my tone didn’t sound very encouraging. So I added, “If you were going to say no, it wouldn’t have jumped us,” a little pointedly, because she should have figured that much out by then. A mal smart enough to have been quietly lurking in her floor pillows—floor pillows she’d probably inherited from a previous New York enclaver—for years and years, conserving its energy and slurping up anyone other than her who was unlucky enough to be left alone in her room—which is the kind of thing enclavers do, invite friends over for a study group after dinner with the understanding that one of them is going to arrive first and make sure the room is all right—hadn’t just leapt at us because it suddenly lost all self-control. It had done it because Chloe was about to get on board with me, meaning that especially delicious me was about to become a much harder target.
Redemptor, by Jordan Ifueko. Second paragraph of third chapter:
“I’m not hiding,” I lied, humming with manic cheer as I swept through the gilded Imperial Suite hallways, balancing a sloshing tureen on one hip and a bundle of scrolls on the other. “I’m busy. You haven’t had your coneflower tea yet, have you?”
A Snake Falls to Earth, by Darcie Little Badger. Second paragraph of third chapter:
Surrounded by markers and pieces of construction paper, thirteen year-old Nina sat cross-legged on the living room floor, staring at a scanned copy of Rosita’s portrait. She had to make an ancestral chart for class; it was a social studies project worth 10 percent of the class grade. Due to her tribe’s enrollment requirements, Nina already knew the recent branches on her family tree, so the project should have involved minimal research. And initially, yeah, it had been easy. First, Nina Arroyo had written her name, date of birth, and birth town on the bottom of a bright green piece of poster paper. Two branches extended upward: Richie N. Arroyo (father, bookstore owner) and Alicia T. Arroyo (mother, translator). Next, her parents grew four grandparents (one living, three deceased), who grew eight great-grandparents (three living, five deceased), who grew sixteen great-great-grandparents (all deceased). And that’s when things got tricky, since Nina’s teacher would never accept that Great-Great-Grandma Rosita was born in the 1870s (give or take) and died over 150 years later. But everything Nina knew about her ancestor supported this impossible truth.
Victories Greater Than Death, by Charlie Jane Anders. Second paragraph of third chapter:
My phone is jittering with all the gossip from Waymaker fandom and random updates about some Clinton High drama that I barely noticed in the midst of my Marrant obsession … and then there’s a message from Rachael on the Lasagna Hats server.