Reviews of two short stories, Kathryn White’s Searching for Audrina and Samantha Edmond’s Earthbound John.
Searching for Audrina Synopsis:
Adam knows what it means to lose everything.
When he was seventeen he lost his home, and his family, in one clean sweep. Now an adult, he has two goals. To live a good life, and to be reunited with the only other person who survived the fire—his stepsister, Audrina. But when Adam encounters Audrina on campus the last thing he expects is to fall in love…
(Black Cat Five, 2017; 30 pages)
I rarely read YA/NA but found Searching for Audrina a refreshing little read.
Adam’s conversational narrative voice is highly accessible, and his character’s sense of independence and individuality intriguing. We soon learn this is a by-product of an upbringing and series of adult influences a little out of the ordinary.
It is common for a keen-eyed reader to notice a typo or two in self-published works, this title being no exception — but these were not of a scale or frequency that harmed my reading experience.
While a satisfying story is contained within this short, Searching for Audrina works best as an introduction to an interesting character set and web of relationships worthy of further exploration in a full length novel. I understand this is White’s intention.
RATING: The Story 3.5 / 5 ; The Writing 3 / 5
Get your copy of Searching for Audrina from:
Genre: Short Story, Drama, Romance, Mystery
About the Author, Kathryn White
Kathryn White is a writer, bookworm and independently published author from Adelaide, South Australia.
She likes to write about people who don’t quite fit in with their world in one way or another and think that humour can be a powerful tool for discussing subjects that people are otherwise afraid to talk about.
Other reviews of Searching for Audrina: Goodreads
Earthbound John Synopsis:
The first camper to see him thinks he’s the devil. In fact, he’s an alien who, fleeing his native planet, has crash-landed on Earth, just outside the summer camp.
The campers and counselors are distrustful at first, but Kennedy, the camp nurse—who is fleeing a dark past of her own—has more sympathy for the lost creature. Slowly others are also won over by the alien’s gentle nature and his quick study of human language and custom. But the atmosphere again turns hostile when the camp finds out that he and a counselor are falling in love—until the night that she betrays him.
Both imaginative and heartbreaking, Earthbound John speaks to the cruel lengths people go to in order to define themselves by rejecting others.
(Day One, 2017; 24 pages)
Earthbound John was originally published in Day One, a weekly literary journal dedicated to short fiction and poetry from emerging writers, and so its prose exudes the polish one would expect from edited journal content.
This tale’s purpose is clear from the outset, as are a series of authorial decisions made by Edmonds to reinforce that. The sense of alienation that comes from either being different, in hiding or both, and the folly of bending in attempts to meet expectation (without eventually breaking) resonates strongly. Edmonds explores the similarities (and somewhat fatalistically, the predictability) of human responses to the issue of difference within our society.
Earthbound John is not an uplifting story, nor are the characters ones I felt particularly invested in. But what it does well is ask readers sitting in a position of judgement, to consider whether they would actually respond any differently if they found themselves in comparable circumstances.
RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5
Get your copy of Earthbound John from:
Genre: Short Story, Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi-Fantasy, Mystery
About the Author, Samantha Edmonds
Samantha Edmonds’ fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Day One, Black Warrior Review, Pleiades, Indiana Review, Monkeybicycle, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among others. Her nonfiction has been published in Bustle, Elite Daily, Dogs Today Magazine, The Billfold, and more. She’s also a contributing writer at Ravishly. She holds an MA in creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. She currently lives in Knoxville, where she’s an MFA candidate at the University of Tennessee.
Other reviews of Earthbound John: Goodreads