Deep appreciation to Melanie Page at Grab the Lapels, who wrote a thorough and thoughtful review of Unaccompanied Minors that posted today. Some of her kind words:
“Jones waves her wand and does some of the best world building I’ve ever encountered in short fiction. No piece was noticeably weaker than another, no piece failed to pull its weight. These stories often touch on themes of sexual orientation and the fairly simplistic exteriors of adolescents who have dark interiors. A few of the stories are set in Costa Rica. Frequently, there is a lot going on inside of a narrator that the reader is privy to, but the other characters never see…
The way Jones flips simple ideas on their heads and makes them new was sheer pleasure for me. I was reminded of the artist David Hockney who draws one chair from every angle, which results in an odd final picture; you can tell the image is a chair, but you’re forced to look at it in new ways.
Alden Jones’s collection was incredibly immersive. Some moments were so visceral, such as a character heaving deep breaths while climbing a mountain, but pretending that she isn’t out of breath so she doesn’t seem weak, which only makes her breathe harder. Each story builds a new and unforgettable world that I could see and experience, and each character had an emotional depth that made me worry about each and every one of them. I also felt helpless, scared, and ignorant. For an author to make me feel like I’m supposed to do something for fake people…that’s a skill for sure.”
Grab the Lapels is a place where Melanie reviews books by women as a service, without getting paid for her work, because she sees that it needs doing.