By Lynn Norusis
‘The Runaway Daughter’ by Juliet Philip
In her debut novel, Herndon resident Juliet Philip takes readers into the world and mind of sixteen-year old Kamada who is trying to escape her existence in Bombay. The tale opens with the girl making her way through the streets being assaulted by unwanted advances, giving an inkling into her environment.
To take her mind off her surroundings inanimate objects come to life (“I too have trained my brain to emotionally detach from situations …”), and also playing her conscience. Readers follow a short period of Kamada’s life as she struggles to leave her native land. Family secrets are reveled and friendships are tested, yet her determination to leave Bombay and make a new life in America only becomes stronger.
‘The End of the City’ by David Bendernagel
Pink Fish Press
In Reston, 2011, a battle is being fought. In his senior year, Ben Moor is grappling with the post-September 11 world, his father’s untimely death and the realization that the world he has been living in—filled with sports, comics and the glorification of heroes—is something he must grow out of.
He retreats from his life’s sorrow by creating an antihero, an assassin, an alter ego. (“I imagined a boy, a sunken-eyed boy, and imagined he imagined me. To cure him of the ills of reality: powerlessness, boredom, and death.”) David Bendernagel’s first novel falls into the sci-fi genre, complete with specified sports and pop culture references, that carry the reader between two alternate realities with both characters living on opposite ends of the spectrum, yet both are playing the game of life, trying to survive in a world of loss and destruction.