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Girl Walking Backwards

By Bett Williams

Skye wants what all teenagers want -- to survive high school. She lives in Southern California, though, which is making that difficult. Her mother has fallen victim to the pseudo-New Age culture and insists ondragger her to consciousness-raising workshops and hypnotists. As if this weren't difficult enough, Skye falls in love with Jessica, a troubled gothic punk girl who cuts herself regularly with sharp objects. When she finds her boyfriend having sex with Jessica in a bathroom stall at a rave, her romantic illusions collapse and she has to face the fact that she's been running away from her mother's insanity. Right when things look their worst, though, Skye is helped by Mol, a pagan who becomes her true friend, and Lorri, a graceful volleyball player with whom she finds real love. From them she learns how to feel authentic emotions in a culture of poseurs and New Age charlatans. In this anti-coming-of-age-novel, where growing up is irrelevant, this is the best gift of all.

Bett Williams was raised in California. She resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is her first novel.

"Let's stop kidding ourselves. California is a god-awful scary place where the golden glow of sex and drugs hides the money-soaked carcass of emotional vampirism. If you don't believe it, this agile and devastating portrait of a young California dyke will convince you ... But don't despair; Williams is a good fairy after all, blessing her work and its achingly gay heroine with lovely youthful sex, as redemptive as it gets."
-- Out magazine

"Bett Williams makes you laugh and then makes you feel guilty for laughing. Girl Walking Backwards is brilliant Southern Gothic merged with punk rock and moved West. An honest, tender, and nasty rendering of self-mutilation and New Age fascism, this book establishes Williams as one of the most original novelists around."
-- Barry Graham, author of The Book of Man and Before

"Williams confronts coming-of-age angst in this dry, often angry debut about a 16-year-old lesbian who lives in Santa Barbara, California, with her skittish mother, a spaced-out New Age divorcee on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Williams writes in clipped, unemotional prose, underscoring the theme that innocence is hard to find but that naivete is rampant (especially among adults). Somehow in this chaotic and self-indulgent California terrain, her wounded young protagonist emerges as the most reasonable voice of all."

-- Publishers Weekly

"Girl Walking Backwards is about style and vulnerability and trying to grow up in a world without adults. Author Bett Williams is smart, charming, writes about characters engagingly, and knows how to drive a sentence."

-- Blanche McCrary Boyd, author of Terminal Velocity and The Revolution of Little Girls

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