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A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing

2021 - Shortlisted


A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing is a remarkably incisive debut from Jessie Tu. She paints a complex and enjoyably messy protagonist in Jena Li, a 22-year-old former child-prodigy violinist who is carving a jagged path out of the model minority myth that hangs above her. As she wields and surrenders to sex with the reckless abandon of a twenty-something in need of a coming-of-age arc, the reader is pulled along hoping the wreckage in her wake is worth it, surely… 

This work deftly explores the repulsive, the cruel and the flawed in characters that are often denied that nuance. It demands that its readers sit in the dissonance between what we expect from, and for, this young Asian woman and what we experience. Through this, Tu offers us an expansive platter of stories through which to imagine the widest breadth of humanity.