Dylan Landis' novel Rainey Royal (Soho Press) is a series of chronological short-stories following the lives of three vulnerable, precocious girls as they pass through adolescence in 1970s New York City. Landis' title-character, Rainey, takes the cake here. Lacking normal parental love, she finds purpose through her allure as a woman. It seems her very magnetism drew Landis to her: she first appeared in Landis' prior book Normal People Don't Live Like This, and one gets the sense Landis isn't through with her, or she isn't through with Landis. As such, Landis' readers are the recipients of her deep knowledge of her characters: her job, she says, is to lend them a voice.
Read an excerpt of Rainey Royal.