Fractured family, deadly secrets, and a woman on the run in L.A.  

I’m a sucker for broken families–well, stories about them, anyway. Throw in secrets, especially L.A. secrets, and I’m in with both feet.  

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Most of the cast in Fallout Girl (Blue Crow Publishing) are twenty-somethings. It’s the age of becoming: choosing a career and a place to live, figuring out what sort of a person you want to be and who you want to be with. It’s like being a teenager, only this time the choices you make are for real.

But twenty-something is still young. The best thing about being young is believing you can replace your supremely messed-up family with a group of friends. The worst thing about being young is figuring out it isn’t that simple—blood relatives or not, it’s always down to you.

​ Big sigh.

Our testy heroine, Miranda​,​ hops a plane to Los Angeles the day of her mother’s funeral​, and falls into the safety net of friends who are more loyal than she can handle. Miranda is touching down, not staying; she’s on the run from her loved ones, ​her history, herself.  She is as prickly as a saguaro, and emotionally radioactive–or thinks she is–​blowing up relationships like they don’t matter. It’s dead simple to flub such a damaged, complex character, especially when mental illness is the mix, but Pryal’s honest, clear storytelling kept me rooting for Miranda and riveted to the page. I truly wanted Miranda to find happiness, or at least a little peace. And I hoped to God she would survive that crazy-ass motorcycle ride….

Modern, fresh, and entirely credible, Fallout Girl is a love story wrapped inside a heart-rending struggle for personal freedom. ​Take it with you on your summer vacation or, better yet, start with the first in the Hollywood Lights series, Entanglement.​ That’s my next move.


Katie Rose Guest Pryal is a novelist, freelance journalist, and erstwhile law professor in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She is the author of the Hollywood Lights Series, which includes ‘Entanglement’ (2015), ‘Love and Entropy’ (2015), ‘Chasing Chaos’(2015),  ‘How to Stay’ (2017), and  ‘Fall Out Girl’ (2018), all with Blue Crow Books. She is also the author of many books of nonfiction, including ‘Life of the Mind Interrupted: Essays on Mental Health and Disability in Higher Education’ (Raven Books 2017).

As a journalist, Katie contributes to Quartz, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The(late, lamented) Toast, Dame MagazineWomen in Higher Education and other national venues. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, where she attended on a fellowship. Katie has published many books on writing, including How Writing Works with Oxford University Press. A professor of writing for more than a decade, she now teaches creative writing and works as a writing coach and developmental editor.

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