Praise for Open Me A New York Times Editors’ Choice One of O Magazine’s “10 Titles to Pick Up Now” One of The Millions’ Most Anticipated Books of the Year and Most Anticipated for August An Elle Best Book to Read This Summer One of Bustle ’s 16 New Books You Need To Know One of Refinery 29’s “Sexiest Books You’ll Ever Have the Pleasure of Reading” and a Best New Book for August A Village Voice Great Debut Novel of Summer A Library Journal “Power Debut Novel” (August Fiction Preview) A Palm Beach Post Sizzling Summer Read
“Locascio is a lovely, imagistic writer, and she’s especially exquisite on the female orgasm, evoking a purple smoke that becomes a motif…
Open Me spends nearly as much descriptive time on mucus, crotch odors, and the grime that accumulates in the creases of an unshowered body as it does on the violent beauty of sex—a choice perhaps even more daring that the novel’s nuanced exploration of a teenage girl’s sexual imagination…. Though the framework is familiar Open Me explodes clichés of female sexuality. On sex and love it feels transgressive.” — Julie Buntin, New York Times Book Review
"Locascio captures, frankly but lyrically, the heroine’s intense hunger to master her own body and the new world around her."
— New Yorker
“Locascio manages in this novel to critique white supremacy and false tolerance while also celebrating a young woman’s sexuality and her right to it — a difficult, and often joyous feat that marks her as a remarkable author to keep your eyes on.”—Ilana Masad, NPR
“Hypnotic...thrillingly naughty and politically germane.”—
“If you’re looking for a sexy and smart summer read, look no further. In this erotic coming-of-age story, Lisa Locascio explores the female body, politics, and desire.”—The Millions
“This steamy and intellectual debut novel is an ode to the female body, and to a young woman discovering the potential boundlessness of her pleasure.”—Refinery 29,“The Sexiest Books You’ll Ever Have the Pleasure of Reading”“This one has everything needed for the perfect summer book — thrills, romance, sex, and far-away locales.”—
“Locascio practically invents a new language, conjuring pure feelings and colors, for their sex…This provocative, intimate, and metamorphosing character study vividly captures a young woman’s life-earned education.” —
“Imbued with sex and politics, Locascio’s debut novel casts the traditional bildungsroman into a darker, more feminine light… Locascio centers the female body exquisitely. A debut exploring how we open up to others—and, more importantly, ourselves.” —
“Summer is for sexiness, so yield to this coming-of-age novel about a teen whose erotic awakening in Copenhagen circles around two men: an older local and a refugee from the Balkan War.”—
‘The long-awaited debut novel from Lisa Locascio follows the story of a young woman embarking on a long-awaited trip that takes an unpredictable turn. Specifically, it finds the protagonist of this novel venturing to Copenhagen rather than her intended destination of Paris, and the life-changing experiences that await her there.”—Vol. 1 Brooklyn
“Open Me will remind you, viscerally, of the heady joys (and terrors) of being 18 and discovering the boundlessness of your pleasure, discovering what your body could do….If you’re seeking an erotic coming-of-age story, this is it.”—Refinery 29, “The Best New Books for August”
“A bildungsroman that’s not merely erotic, but a delicate investigation into migration, belonging, and the female form.”—
Village Voice, “5 Great Debut Novels to Help Get You Through This Summer”
“A surprising, bodily coming-of-age story at the intersection of one young American woman’s sexual awakening and the tense political environment in which she finds herself.”—Literary Hub
“Locascio’s story of a young American abroad is unflinching in its portrayal of sex, desire, racism, and the excitement and confusion of youth. Infused with erotics and politics, this is a novel that will haunt you.”—Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of
“Through the care of her tremendous observations and the beauty of her prose, Lisa Locascio writes a kind of love letter to the female body and all its power and visceral complexity. This is a story of many important layers, but one of the many reasons it remains distinct in my mind is because of its honesty about our complicated, yearning physical selves. A remarkable, fearless debut.”—Aimee Bender, author of
The Color Master
“Captivating and darkly clever, Locasio’s debut melds self-discovery and self-abnegation with raw, muscular grace. By turns beguiling, guileless, and penetratingly felt, this book seethes with eroticism, both physical and emotional—you won’t dare to pry yourself away from it.”—Alexandra Kleeman, author of
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine “An evocative and compelling remapping of Bluebeard’s Castle for our times. In Open Me, Locascio offers a daring, unapologetic, and vital exploration of female desire.”—Emily Fridlund, author of History of Wolves
“ Not since Henry James’ Daisy Miller have I been so beguiled by an American abroad. Lisa Locascio’s Roxana Olsen may only be eighteen but she is already a desperate sexual adventurer. Part captivity narrative, part political awakening, Open Me will open you, reminding us that nothing really happens until it happens in the body.”—Darcey Steinke, author of Suicide Blonde
“A lush, evocative novel you won’t be able to put down.
Open Me is a masterful debut.” — T.C. Boyle, author of The Harder They Come
Paperback Paris Best New Books of SummerA Book Riot Favorite Floral Cover
Locascio is a lovely, imagistic writer…
Open Me transforms from a well-written and recognizable Bildungsroman (younger woman meets older man abroad, education ensues) into something much darker, and more interesting… Open Me spends nearly as much descriptive time on mucus, crotch odors and the grime that accumulates in the creases of an unshowered body as it does on the violent beauty of sexa choice perhaps even more daring than the novel's nuanced exploration of a teenage girl's sexual imagination…Though the framework is familiar, Open Me explodes clichés of female sexuality. On sex and love, it feels transgressive…
The New York Times Book Review - Julie Buntin
A young American’s exploration of what it means to be desired and her near-constant quest for sex are the focus of Locascio’s raunchy yet flat debut. Eighteen-year-old Roxana is scheduled to embark on a summer study abroad program to Paris with her best friend. When Roxana gets bumped to Copenhagen instead, she lies to her parents about her travel plans and decides to make the best of her experience on her own in Denmark—especially after she meets her attractive 28-year-old guide, Søren. But then, Søren suggests she ditch the program and follow him to Farsø, a small town in the north of Denmark, for the summer while he works on his graduate thesis. The romance starts out delightfully domestic but becomes progressively claustrophobic as Roxana beings spending her days indoors without a key, cleaning, masturbating, and waiting for Søren to return so they can have sex. In turn, increasingly whiny Søren has trouble writing his thesis and resents Roxana for her lusty behavior. The novel’s focus on Roxana’s obsession with discovering the power of her body (“The space between my legs became the center of everything”) comes off as navel-gazing rather than titillating or erotic. Readers will find themselves wishing for more from Roxana and her awakening. Agent: Marya Spence, Janklow & Nesbit Assoc. (Aug.)
In 2010, planning on studying abroad during a gap year, Roxana Olsen inadvertently ends up in Copenhagen and falls for her 28-year-old guide. She spends a sexually voracious summer with him but is also drawn to a refugee from the Balkan Wars. Lots of buzz for a book described as an "intellectual, discerning, literary reader's Fifty Shades of Grey."
A young woman traveling abroad gets far more than she bargained for.Imbued with sex and politics, Locascio's debut novel casts the traditional bildungsroman into a darker, more feminine light. In the wake of her parents' divorce, 18-year-old Roxana can't wait for her pre-college study-abroad trip to Paris. Shortly before her departure, the travel agency informs her that while she can no longer go to Paris, she has been offered a spot in their Copenhagen program. With an eye on adventure and a need to escape, Roxana accepts the offer. Shortly after arriving, she falls into a passionate relationship with Søren, her older, mysterious tour guide. When Søren invites her to spend the summer in rural Denmark, she says yes. In the empty, white apartment, Roxana begins to explore the pleasures of her body with and without Søren. While Søren becomes more unpleasant and less recognizable, Roxana's desires—for companionship, touch, and adulthood—threaten to consume them both. As Søren pulls away, Roxana is drawn to a Bosnian refugee named Zlatan, whom locals call Geden, meaning "the Goat." From their politics to their treatment of Roxana, the two men could not be more different. As she's pushed to the shadowy periphery of Søren's life, the novel—like Roxana—begins to turn inward. There are fewer flashbacks and longer, claustrophobic stretches detailing Roxana's body, her longings, and the space she inhabits. The novel's sometimes-deliberate sparseness gives way to sensual and frank descriptions of genitalia, bodily functions, and domesticity: "The way formless hours could fall wide as splayed knees" and "the space between my legs became the center of everything, opened like a peeled grapefruit." Above all else, Locascio centers the female body exquisitely.A debut exploring how we open up to others—and, more importantly, ourselves.