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Boys and Girls Like You and Me


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About the Author

Aryn Kyle is the author of the bestselling novel The God of Animals and a graduate of the University of Montana writing program. Her short stories have appeared in Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New American Voices 2005, Best American Short Stories 2007, and The Atlantic Monthly, for which her story "Foaling Season" won a National Magazine Award. She is also the recipient of the American Library Association's Alex Award, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers'Award, and others. She lives in New York.


This sure-to-please collection by Kyle (The God of Animals) probes the frequently wrongheaded choices girls and young women make to feel happy and loved. Girls growing up with fathers whose wives have vanished, girls perilously desirous of acceptance, young women enthralled by unsuitable men: these are the characters inhabiting Kyle's low-key tales. In "Nine," the young protagonist tells elaborate lies to deflect the pain of her mother's absence, though her attempts at befriending her father's new girlfriend go terribly awry. "Allegiance" depicts the ruthless extent the new girl will go to get invited to a sleepover party held by the popular girls, especially as her mother offers suggestions for tormenting the weak. Similarly, in "Brides," the new girl in the high school play learns how to ingratiate herself with the lead and the pervy theater teacher. Meanwhile, dallying with married men only brings grief to smart women, as in "Sex Scenes from a Chain Bookstore" and the moving title story. There's no shortage of heartache, and Kyle's varied approaches to it consistently reveals new ways of feeling bad. (Apr.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Ever been the new girl at school? Know anyone who had an affair with a married man who kept promising he would leave his wife and didn't? Met women stuck in dead-end marriages who pin their hopes on their daughters? These are just some of the situations faced by the characters in this collection from Kyle, best-selling author of The God of Animals. In "Economics," a young college student takes a part-time job to make ends meet. She is hired by Red but really works for his daughter, Amy. Red thinks his daughter is a stellar business student, not knowing that the narrator is covering for her. Reality hits hard in "A Lot Like Fun" when Leigh lives the high life with her husband only to find out one day that he has left her. She turns to teaching second grade and trying to find love again. This book is filled with stories of women and girls trying to fit into society and find love and happiness. VERDICT Kyle has written an engaging collection of tales. Fans of Lorrie Moore or Alice Munro's short stories will find much to appreciate in these moments of female experience. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/09.]-Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

"The rare story collection that inspires a reader to go through it in one sitting. Days after reading them, these stories, in their admirable brevity, complexity, and completeness, have a way of hanging on in the mind." --The Rumpus

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