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The Out Traveler
Darren Frei

In literature the typical American road trip—à la Jack Kerouac’s On the Road—begins in a red state and ends in a blue. Girl, the queer street punk in Katia Noyes’s debut novel, on the other hand, approaches this intrinsic search for home in the reverse, traveling from her frantic life in San Francisco to the lonely heartland of the United States. Just off each interstate highway exit, from Utah to Nebraska to Tennessee, is another chance at belonging. Girl’s serendipitous human interactions, with characters ranging from a Salt Lake City housewife to a born-again Christian rocker, remind us that traveling isn’t about geography or gas prices—it’s about finding strangers, becoming friends, and then leaving them behind. —D.F.