Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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Longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Young People's Literature

Genderqueer fourteen-year-old Z Chilworth has to adjust quickly to their new status as a zombie after waking from death from a car crash that killed their parents and sisters. Always a talented witch, Z now can barely perform magic and is rapidly decaying. Faced with rejection from their remaining family members and old friends, Z moves in with Mrs. Dunnigan, an elderly witch and befriends Aysel, a loud would-be-goth classmate who is, like Z, a loner. As Z struggles to find a way to repair the broken magical seal holding their body together, Aysel fears that her classmates will discover her status as an unregistered werewolf. When a local psychiatrist is murdered by what seems to be werewolves, the town of Salem, Oregon, becomes even more hostile to "monsters," and Z and Aysel are driven together in an attempt to survive a place where most people wish that neither of them existed.

Rarely has a first-time author created characters of such immediacy and power as Z, Aysel, Tommy (suspected fey), and Elaine (also a werewolf), or a world that parallels our own so clearly and disturbingly as that in Out of Salem.

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“Darkly humored fantasy explores censorship, government surveillance, homelessness, and real-world (not just magical) forms of oppression .... Schrieve depicts diversity among the queer and trans characters, highlighting how economic and racial privilege make the concerns of middle-aged, rich, white trans women different from those of a young, trans woman of color without access to medical care. Tension burns hot until the explosive conclusion, which begs for a sequel. On fire with magic and revolution.”

“Shrieve conjures intricate magic vital to the plot, pushes the book’s leads to grow amid the book’s ratcheting tension, and provides incisive social commentary via monster-tale tropes. Any reader who has felt it necessary to hide their true identity will find strong characters to connect with in this fun, powerful story.”

“Schrieve's queer vision of a monster-infested '90s is rich in metaphor and rife with meaning.”

Out of Salem is the best urban fantasy I've ever read. Hal Schrieve refurbishes old school world-building sensibilities into a note-perfect dysphoria metaphor that feels fresh and classic at the same time. Simultaneously nostalgic and forward looking, this book should set a new standard in the genre. Terrifying, beautiful, exhilarating.”

Out of Salem is the genderqueer, undead, anarchist Harry Potter replacement we have all been waiting for. Queer teen readers will fall in love with this gang of misfit magical monsters; not so much chosen ones as outcasts, and if you know a queer teen you should definitely buy it for them. However, in its political acuity, its sadness and, ultimately, its hope, Schrieve’s book is much more than just a good YA read. It is also, in the best possible sense, an educational experience.”

Out of Salem is one of the most entertaining and poignant YA novels I have read. This genderqueer urban fantasy is a propulsive gem.”

“Full of werewolves and zombies and witches, really fun and super trans”

“Schrieve’s literary star is rising fast . . . Out of Salem is an inventive story of intersectional identity . . . Set in an alternative United States in 1999, where fairy folk, selkies, werewolves and zombies are commonplace, the novel is a deeper literary accomplishment than your average youth fantasy.”

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Hal Schrieve grew up in Olympia, Washington, and is competent at making risotto and setting up a tent. Xie has worked as an after-school group leader, a summer camp counselor, a flower seller, a tutor, a grocer, and a babysitter. Hir current ambition is to become a librarian. Xie has a BA in history with a minor in English from University of Washington and studies library science at Queens College, New York. Xie lives in Brooklyn, New York, and hir poetry has appeared in Vetch magazine. This is hir first novel.