Swamplandia! 

Karen Russell's debut novel had me hooked from its haunting first sentence: "Our mother performed in starlight." Set in a gator-wrestling enclave in the Everglades threatened by The World of Darkness, a (literally) hellish theme park, the story mixes Old Florida flavor with phantasmagorical detail, grounded by the wide-eyed wisdom of its beguiling narrator, 13-year-old Ava Bigtree. —David Warner, CL editor-in-chief

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