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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stripped down and confrontive
Huffington Post recommended this book. It is one of Amazon's "Best in May". Reading the first few pages, I was taken aback. The prose is terse and the plot is dark. Nikki has watched her mother die in a fall from a cliff, and she has come to live with her father. Nikki is a tough tough survivor who had not become fully cynical. Her father, Coy Hawkins, does...
Published 9 months ago by Amelia Gremelspacher

versus
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, this is as "gritty," "raw," and "bare" as everyone says it is
Rating: 3.5/5

If you’ve heard of this new, debut novel, chances are you’ve heard words like “gritty,” “raw,” and “bare” attached to it. The style, the characters, and their realities are all no-holds-barred and in your face. You want candy-coating and flowers? Better look elsewhere.

Nikki is Young...
Published 9 months ago by I Know What You Should Read


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes, this is as "gritty," "raw," and "bare" as everyone says it is, May 15, 2014
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This review is from: Young God: A Novel (Hardcover)
Rating: 3.5/5

If you’ve heard of this new, debut novel, chances are you’ve heard words like “gritty,” “raw,” and “bare” attached to it. The style, the characters, and their realities are all no-holds-barred and in your face. You want candy-coating and flowers? Better look elsewhere.

Nikki is Young God’s thirteen-year-old protagonist. She is impressionable and naïve, but she is also scrappy. She is ready to grow up, and she doesn’t want to appear inexperienced (“I ain’t a virgin,” she proclaims three times in the book) or youthful. In her experience, adults have sex and do drugs and act tough . . . and she’s ready to be just like them.

Her mom dies in the first few pages of the book, but Nikki doesn’t mourn her much. Her main objective is to avoid ending up back at the group home. She hangs out with her mom’s boyfriend for a while before stealing his car and driving out to her dad’s trailer.

Her dad, Coy Hawkins, recently got out of jail. He used to be the biggest coke dealer in the county, but now he’s just a crackhead who pimps out teenage girls (“This is my new thing. This is the future.”). Nikki is desperate to stay with Coy, to impress him, to earn his acceptance (if not love), and she will do anything to please him.

Niki and her dad live in the foothills of North Carolina, many miles from the nearest city. Young God’s Appalachia is real and authentic in the way the Ozarks are real in Winter’s Bone. This is the country, and, like the rest of the book, it’s not particularly pretty.

There’s a reason most of the hype about this book focuses on the style. It is short and choppy and something akin to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (but harsher, meaner, and purposely less polished). Morris took what was once a 100,000-word novel and hacked it down to its bare minimum. What was left is this short, stark, bold novel. Some pages contain only one sentence (“HEROIN IS THE MOST SECRET OF THEM ALL and needles are the most secret part and she has always loved secrets ever since she was a little girl.”), and all 208 pages can easily be read in an hour.

Is it engrossing? Yes.

Intended to shock? Certainly.

Pleasant? Hell, no.

Worth reading? Absolutely.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Please Stop Recommending New Fiction to Me, Amazon, May 11, 2014
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This review is from: Young God: A Novel (Hardcover)
The writing style is interesting, but this 'novel' is not a novel at all...It's the opening act of a novel. It is around 200 pages and quite of few of them have literally one sentence on them. I realize it's a stylistic choice, in keeping with the 'stripped down' prose, but I'm not even a fast reader and I still finished this entire book in 90 minutes. The moment I thought, finally, maybe the plot will start, the novel ended!

It is a good thing the book's cover informs you the main character, "Nikki" is 13 years old, because you would not gather that information from any of the character's actions which include explicit set and graphic violence. Every character in the book is despicable, including the 'heroine' of the story. Minor characters are introduced for the sole purpose of being abused, killed, or both. If there was a point to this book, it completely escaped me. I think I was supposed to be shocked by what I was reading, but mostly what I was feeling was disgust, and I'll definitely be giving more thought next time Amazon decides to recommend a new book to me.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stripped down and confrontive, May 6, 2014
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Huffington Post recommended this book. It is one of Amazon's "Best in May". Reading the first few pages, I was taken aback. The prose is terse and the plot is dark. Nikki has watched her mother die in a fall from a cliff, and she has come to live with her father. Nikki is a tough tough survivor who had not become fully cynical. Her father, Coy Hawkins, does his bet to make her world weary and accepting of the worst.

This book does nothing to court the reader. The scenes are sketched in the barest of detail. The framing of the setting is bare of comfort. I really disliked it. Then I thought it was a masterful piece of writing. Then I was enmeshed. All things being equal, this book still is not for everyone. I am, however, pleased that I took a selection a little further from my comfort zone. I do not seek pretty, but this is fairly far from that mark. It is a worthwhile work of stripped down fiction that engages the reader.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A pulpy Appalachian thrill ride, without pause for rest or redemption., June 4, 2014
By 
Kali (Walnut Creek, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Reading Young God is like being punched in the face over and over. It's like eating sour candy until your tongue feels raw and your stomach aches but you just keep eating the candy anyways, knowing it isn't fun anymore and it has possibly turned into a quite negative experience but dammit, there's half a bag left. This book has few redeeming qualities but that doesn't make it easy to put down.

We meet Young God's heroine Nikki, thirteen, in an opening scene that sets the tone for the rest of the novel: her momma falls off a diving cliff the wrong way, high on attention from a guy and who knows what else, and splits her head open. Nikki quickly runs from the scene of the accident with her mother's lover and his backpack full of drugs, and the book is off and running at the pace of an adrenaline high. Nikki seems to be the girl the adage about years alone not truly measuring how much one has lived was made for, and this isn't a tale of redemption as much as it is one of survival of the fittest and the maddest in a mad mad world.

Constantly fearing child services, just a call away, Nikki fights or flights her way from druggie guy to druggie dad, without the luxury of self-analyzation or insight surrounding the desperation of her situation. Things go from bad to worse, and from icky to really really icky, so if you can't handle to darker stuff then this isn't the book for you. It reminded me a bit of Tampa by Alissa Nutting in its breezy, un-analytic writing style of the most horrible aspects of human nature. Sometimes the murderers and rapists and pimps aren't carrying on intense internal dialogue about life and ethics as they go about their dark business, these books seem to say. Sometimes people are just acting and reacting, bouncing off each other and feeding their animal drives and fleeing from consequences. A jarring statement to make, which leaves protagonists with little room for development, and even littler opportunity for us as the reader to comprehend any of their behavior. But hey, that's life. To me this style of writing about this sort of subject is scarier than any horror novel.

I'm not sure how I feel about country noir as a genre in general. I haven't read enough of it to make any sort of judgement, but I certainly hope we don't see the emergence of Appalachian horror stories of poverty and blight as amusing simply because of the locale. The most intriguing characters aren't stereotypes but the opposite, asking us to challenge our preconceived notions about the world and the way we see it. I became interested in this story after seeing a blurb shared on Elle's Facebook page which declared the book a mix of Winter's Bone and Breaking Bad. It feels to me as more a mix of Spun and Go Ask Alice. But Morris is a child of Appalachia herself, and she dated older men as a young rebellious thing trying to figure out her place in the world.

In the Elle interview, Morris says she cut down the novel from a longer version, and I would love to see the original story. I understand the purpose in editing it down to something brutally short for effect, but I need a bit more of a character's internal dialogue to relate to their world. Young God is a story of drugs and violence, but its purposeful lack of depth makes it pulpy and a bit too grotesque for my taste.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love/Hate, May 20, 2014
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I waited a couple of days to write this review, then came back and bumped my rating up from four to five and got typing. Ironically I agree with a lot of the things the reviewer who hated it had to say: it's violent, misogynist, and lacks the least hint of a hero. Yet, in these few words Morris has pulled me into a completely foreign world. I find myself days later thinking about these characters as though they are my own ne'er do well relatives. And isn't that what Art is all about? Showing you something you otherwise cannot see, especially an emotional something? Is Nikki a psychopath? What would you do - what would *I* do - if she really was a blood relative?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Poor Excuse For 'Literature', August 6, 2014
By 
K. (Kentucky, USA) - See all my reviews
The publishing industry is pathetic. Passing this 'story' off as a novel is pure deception. They call the writing 'stripped-down' because it's a colorful way to say simplistic and juvenile. Just because the main character is a teenager, it doesn't mean the writing has to be so elementary. There are no descriptive elements, so you feel like you are floating around on the outside looking in at Nikki, through a very grimy window. As such, you feel no connection to any of these characters - not because of what they do, mind you; but because of the lack of skill and finesse with which they are written. Super short paragraphs and one-sentence chapters do nothing to draw you into this story. This may sound harsh but the author has no talent, the story is not compelling, and I don't see how anyone even wanted to publish it, much less tout it as recommended reading. This is the best the publishing industry can come up with these days? We are in trouble....
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Eh. At least it's short., June 16, 2014
This review is from: Young God: A Novel (Hardcover)
First thing's first...Katherine Faw Morris is really (REALLY) pretty. She's apparently a model / author (if you go to her website, you'll see her modeling pics), and it's entirely possible no one would have ever heard of her if she weren't so attractive. I'm not knocking her for her looks; like her protagonist Nikki, she's just using what the good lord gave her. It's just that she's a way better model than writer. So it goes.

As for Young God, it isn't particularly coherent, enjoyable or well done. However, it's fast-paced, in your face, and it doesn't pull punches. It's a very quick read, but the plot never really advances despite a very high action to word ratio. The novella goes by so quickly that I can't say I'm disappointed for having read it, but at the same time, I'd never recommend it. It's kind of like KFW watched the movie 'Thirteen' or 'Kids' as a kid and then decided to write a book based off the inspiration, but who knows. It's a very one-note book, and that note isn't all that special.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment, May 26, 2014
This review is from: Young God: A Novel (Hardcover)
I thought this would be an interesting story, or so I though after reading the jacket cover. What I discovered was a story about some characters that none had any redeeming qualities and the story ended and that's it. I read the book quite quickly because on many pages there was only a paragraph or two and on some pages there was only a sentence. This was probably considered some sort of a writing style, but I found it kind of a cop out, like she was just trying to add pages to the book. For a debut novel I would hope Ms. Morris puts this book aside and tries a new approach.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The plot had great potential but just never got there, July 18, 2014
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Storyline and characters never materialized. Left you guessing the story the author was trying to get across. The plot had great potential but just never got there. The ending just left me shaking my head and wondering this is it?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay. Would like to see more., May 22, 2014
By 
Jill P McMahon (Saratoga Spgs., NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Young God: A Novel (Hardcover)
Not as good as I'd hoped, but interesting enough that I'll be looking for her future work. The story and the writing is almost too spare. I hope her next project is a bit more fleshed out.
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Young God: A Novel
Young God: A Novel by Katherine Faw Morris (Hardcover - May 6, 2014)
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