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Allyson Young’s NELL is a marvelous first collection about the split selves of girlhood. In it, a seductive doppelganger haunts and fights to free the primary self while also armouring her against the torments. But the otherness is also a kind of torment. The book tells an unputdownable tale with a triumph you never see coming. Buy this book! 
- Mary Karr, Author of The Liar's Club

"The poems in Ally Young’s Nell shimmer with the chilling ease of a slowly spinning disco ball — one round, complete thing made of many little mirrors, tossed light. Indeed a project wherein the very question of identity is approached fractally, carefully, Nell blurs the past tense of memory with a beguiling, visceral present-ness as the speaker gathers image and experience as evidence of possible, lived totality, simultaneity. Selfhood itself is the itch at which these poems scratch, the riddle this book is preoccupied by, and Young’s technique of shirking linearity works well to situate such existentialism beyond a forced clarity, however incredibly clear and sure Young’s voice is throughout. “Three deer. / There is no other way to tell you what I mean.'"

- Chelsea Harlan, author of Bright Shade, selected by Jericho Brown for the 2022 American Poetry Review / Honickman First Book Prize

"Allyson Young’s stunning poetry captures both the aching magic and unbearable pain of girlhood and what it means to grow up and see yourself for who you truly are or might become. “I was a girl but I wanted to be / some other kind of animal,” Young writes. In the landscape of this expansive collection, the self is twin, friend, enemy, a mirror through which to enter the world. And what a rich world it is that Young crafts for us—a world in which spells are crafted from “[p]erfume, vaseline, dust” and apple fields burst into flame. Young’s voice offers tender revelations with each line and word."- Wendy Chen, author of Unearthings 

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In Ally Young’s “Nell,” the titular character could be a friend, real or imaginary, or an alter ego, mirroring the speaker at times or serving as catalyst for the beautifully crafted poems contained in this impressive collection. Though Nell appears at times and disappears at others, her presence is always felt, and the richly detailed poems create landscapes, both external and internal, that are simultaneously mysterious and revelatory, the voice both intimate and confessional in the best sense of those terms.

- Christopher Kennedy, Author of Clues From the Animal Kingdom


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