"This is a piece by a writer who’s willing to be lost a little while. As readers, we encounter a mind at work: thinking, perceiving, questioning, bewildered. We’re invited into the speaker’s contradictions—her wish to be seen and known, her wish to be invisible—and get a window into an aspect of the American prison system that’s rarely represented, especially with such nuance and intimacy.”
— Paul Lisicky, author of The Narrow Door, Unbuilt Projects, The Burning House, Famous Builder, and Lawnboy
"Sarah Shotland's excellent debut novel Junkette nods in more ways than one in the direction of William S. Burroughs' beat classic "Junky." Shotland, however, is much more generous to her characters and sympathetic to the New Orleans demimonde she artfully renders."
--Kristofer Collins, Pittsburgh Magazine
"Junkette is Sarah Shotland's alternatively lyrical and matter-of-fact novel about a young college-graduate heroin addict in pre-Katrina New Orleans. Searching, funny, sometimes devastating, it upends preconceptions about addicts without romanticizing them. Shotland (who runs the Words Without Walls program and teaches at Chatham University) is a potent new voice."
--Bill O'Driscoll, Pittsburgh City Paper
"Your skin crawls, you feel the craving kick in, and you want more. That’s exactly the experience of reading Sarah Shotland’s Junkette. This candid tale of addiction makes you hunger for more—more love, more drugs, and definitely more for the protagonist, Claire....Sarah Shotland’s Junkette not only depicts the lives of drug addicts—it embodies all addiction—to food, to love, to the need for escape. As Claire fights to break free, she ends up giving up more than she bargained for as the “bodies” start to pile up. The reader will quickly flip through the pages as the story heads to a unique and powerful ending—one that even Claire won’t be able to escape."
--Melissa Schwenk, Coal Hill Review
"New Orleans—mermaid city—is a drug for the protagonist of Sarah Shotland’s novel Junkette. Claire tends bar, hangs out with dealers, and is willing to die a little each day, all so she can stay inside the petal-dream of her adopted city. In the end she doesn’t know where the city’s moist air ends and her own skin begins. A provocative, literate and magnolia-skinned first novel."
-- Maureen Gibbon, author of Paris Red, Swimming Sweet Arrow and Thief
"Sarah Shotland has written a gritty, honest, and absolutely wonderful book about New Orleans, stalking beauty in the cracks of the streets and the strange currents that bring Louisiana's bad weather. Like Raymond Carver and Mary Robison, Shotland is a minimalist with big things to say about the working life and how to avoid it. She knows her junkies and barflies, train tickets out and the desire to stay, and she writes in prose so tough it bruises the page. In Junkette, every bag of dope is a bag of sunshine, until it turns into a hurricane. Everybody is a potential lover until the love is gone. Junkette is the kind of book that makes you happy to be sad because Shotland is beatific but not a beatnik, and she knows that living is a tragedy and love is hard-earned. I haven't read a book this wonderful since Barry Hannah dropped Ray on us all those years ago. Shotland hit my heart in the exact same way, with the exact same breath of awe."
-- Lori Jakiela, author of The Bridge to Take When Things Get Serious and Miss New York Has Everything