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The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels

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This book is one of 2020’s most acclaimed releases. Kirkus Reviews pronounced it a best fiction book of the year and it was highlighted by publications ranging from Garden and Gun to O Magazine! Set in 1986, this is the story of Brian Jackson’s return to Appalachian Ohio after six years experiencing the gay scene in New York City. The story is told not just in a narrator’s voice, but also Brian’s own voice and the voices of his mother, Sharon and his fourteen-year-old sister, Jess. "With the most inviting prose imaginable, Carter Sickels has written a beautiful, heartstring-tugging story about a young man searching for peace, and the family that loves him through thick and thin. The Prettiest Star is a novel I'll never forget." De'Shawn Charles Winslow. "Sickels' characters are painfully flawed and wholly, believably human in their failings. This unflinching honesty, conveyed in finely crafted prose, makes for a memorable and unsettling novel. Powerfully affecting and disturbing."—Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review). "As small-town news travels, Brian is vilified, accused of trying to spread AIDS, refused dentist and doctor visits, and shunned, and it tears apart his once close-knit family. The alternating narrators of Brian, Sharon, and Jess are fleshed out in all of their complexities and contradictions. This immersive, tragic book will stay with readers."—Booklist.  "This tragic story of AIDS and violent homophobia stands out by showing the transcendent power of queer communities to make their voices endure through art."—Publishers Weekly. Carter Sickles teaches at Eastern Kentucky University. This is his second award-winning novel.

Hub City Press, 2020. 295 pages. Hardback in dust jacket.