The Salton Sea—a landscape at the world’s edge. Eleven-year-old Mia has grown up here, gathering memories from the dying body of water, from the abandoned homes and businesses, from the past’s echoes of grandeur.
Through a rich imagination and a deep bond with her foster brother, Mia skirts a childhood of abandonment herself, apt to instead focus on the ways in which she is wanted. But as summer breaks open, that sense of value is upended by experiments in power, and Mia finds herself the target of harassment. Over the course of a single day, she’ll be forced to reimagine what others have ever wanted of her.
With the same tenacity and grace readers will identify in the novel’s titular character, Kayla Eason explores the shame that so often attaches itself to vulnerability, while also stirring the precarious terrain of physicality and fantasy through the lens of adolescence and femininity. Mia is an intimate portrayal of family, place, and the memories we allow to sculpt our sense of self.
“Using lush, daring language, Eason focuses on a single day in an already precarious life, where everything—family, friendships, bodies, homes, landscapes—is fluid and unstable. This rich, unsettling debut feels both gritty and otherworldly."
— Caitlin Horrocks, author of The Vexations
"Mia is an incandescent song of extraordinary beauty and power, a daring exploration of girlhood, sorrow, violence, hunger, tenderness, and the intricate nexus of these elements on a pivotal day in a child’s life. Eason’s prose is exquisitely poetic, and this debut marks the arrival of a singular and necessary voice."
— Carolina de Robertis, author of Cantoras
"In Mia, Kayla Eason sings masterfully of large decays and small redemptions. This impressive debut sucks every bit of oxygen from your lungs in its opening pages, and doesn't let you breathe until the final page has been turned. A must-read debut by a forceful new voice."
— Brooks Rexroat, author of Thrift Store Coats
"Mia is a story about the violence of poverty, the way it grinds on the body and wearies the soul. Kayla Eason writes about life in the desert of the Salton Sea with furiously beautiful prose, creating a fierce and tender portrait of her 11-year-old protagonist. Eason's exquisite debut will leave an indelible impression on her readers."
— May-lee Chai, author of Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories and Dragon Chica
“Kayla Eason’s first novel tells the story of a girl’s coming-of-age in a partly abandoned desert town bordering the Salton Sea. Here, young teens play serious games of love and death in the overheated air, scurrying past adults whose lives appear as half-ruined as the buildings around them. Both hallucinatory and elegiac, Eason’s poetic style causes time itself to shimmer like a desert mirage."
— Andrew Joron, author of The Absolute Letter
“Kayla Eason's Mia reads as if you've slipped into a dream. Her prose is music—a symphony of moments seducing the senses, gracefully and beautifully penned as if written with a quill."
— Daniel Abbott, author of The Concrete
"Kayla Eason’s Mia is an extraordinary story of hunger, of young love, loss, family, of letting go, of searching for fullness amidst the emptiness. Eason’s young protagonist observes with vivid intensity, the colors and textures and scents of the world around her. As she contends with her awakening sexuality and feelings for Sebastian, her foster brother, Mia often turns to her earliest memories of her family; she touches memories--each one alive, sharp, galloping on tongues--with candor and sensitivity, in search of understanding and guidance. Mia is lyrical, poetic, and profound."
— Nancy Au, author of Spider Love Song
“A lyrical coming of age story, Kayla Eason's debut is eerie and stylish, from a new indie press to surely watch.”
— Fernando A. Flores, author of Tears of the Truffle Pig and Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas