The Prettiest Star is forthcoming from Hub City Press, 4/14/20.


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"From its opening sentences Carter Sickels’ The Prettiest Star makes it clear that too many queer narratives have been kept out of sight. Here a man returns to the town of his southern Ohio childhood at a point when his own day-to-day survival is at stake. Love doesn’t come in to save him, or the family and friends upended by his presence. “Nothing transforms, there is no magic,” says one character, and while there’s darkness in those words, their down to earth candor does a lot to convey why this novel feels so touching, affecting, rebellious, and real." —Paul Lisicky, author of LATER

"Get ready for your heart to explode into an entire cosmos. Carter Sickels' The Prettiest Star is the story of a young man who must drag his body from the mouth of death back to the "home" that nearly killed him. The story of a queer desiring body moving through the crucibles of life toward song, toward rewriting family and whatever we mean by home, toward a kind of hope that comes from the dirt up and not the sky down. A heart triumph." —Lidia Yuknavitch, author Verge and The Chronology of Water

The Prettiest Star is a lyrical and compulsively readable novel about the intricate, tangled bonds of family and the way human beings can be both profoundly cruel and surprisingly wonderful.  These characters are people we know, and they'll stay with me for a very long time.  This deeply moving novel is much more than the story of one family dealing with the worst tragedy of their lives in a small Ohio town in 1986.  It's actually the story of all of us--the story of America, then and now, how far we've come, and how far we still have to go.  --Silas House, author of Southernmost

With the most inviting prose imaginable, Carter Sickels has written a beautiful, heartstrung-tugging story about a young man searching for peace, and the family that loves him through thick and thin.The Prettiest Star is a novel I'll never forget. --De'Shawn Charles Winslow, author of In West Mills