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"Queer, dirty, insightful, and so funny" (Andrea Lawlor), this coyly revolutionary debut story collection imagines new origins and futures for its cast of unforgettable protagonists—almost all of whom are named Sarah. NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2021 BY THE MILLIONS * OPRAH MAGAZINE * LAMBDA LITERARY * ELECTRIC LITERATURE * REFINERY29 * COSMO * THE ADVOCATE * ALMA * PA "Queer, dirty, insightful, and so funny" (Andrea Lawlor), this coyly revolutionary debut story collection imagines new origins and futures for its cast of unforgettable protagonists—almost all of whom are named Sarah. NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2021 BY THE MILLIONS * OPRAH MAGAZINE * LAMBDA LITERARY * ELECTRIC LITERATURE * REFINERY29 * COSMO * THE ADVOCATE * ALMA * PAPERBACK PARIS * WRITE OR DIE TRIBE * READS RAINBOW In Sarahland, Sam Cohen brilliantly and often hilariously explores the ways in which traditional stories have failed us, both demanding and thrillingly providing for its cast of Sarahs new origin stories, new ways to love the planet and those inhabiting it, and new possibilities for life itself. In one story, a Jewish college Sarah passively consents to a form-life in pursuit of an MRS degree and is swept into a culture of normalized sexual violence. Another reveals a version of Sarah finding pleasure—and a new set of problems—by playing dead for a wealthy necrophiliac. A Buffy-loving Sarah uses fan fiction to work through romantic obsession. As the collection progresses, Cohen explodes this search for self, insisting that we have more to resist and repair than our own personal narratives. Readers witness as the ever-evolving "Sarah" gets recast: as a bible-era trans woman, an aging lesbian literally growing roots, a being who transcends the earth as we know it. While Cohen presents a world that will clearly someday end, "Sarah" will continue. In each Sarah's refusal to adhere to a single narrative, she potentially builds a better home for us all, a place to live that demands no fixity of self, no plague of consumerism, no bodily compromise, a place called Sarahland.


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"Queer, dirty, insightful, and so funny" (Andrea Lawlor), this coyly revolutionary debut story collection imagines new origins and futures for its cast of unforgettable protagonists—almost all of whom are named Sarah. NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2021 BY THE MILLIONS * OPRAH MAGAZINE * LAMBDA LITERARY * ELECTRIC LITERATURE * REFINERY29 * COSMO * THE ADVOCATE * ALMA * PA "Queer, dirty, insightful, and so funny" (Andrea Lawlor), this coyly revolutionary debut story collection imagines new origins and futures for its cast of unforgettable protagonists—almost all of whom are named Sarah. NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2021 BY THE MILLIONS * OPRAH MAGAZINE * LAMBDA LITERARY * ELECTRIC LITERATURE * REFINERY29 * COSMO * THE ADVOCATE * ALMA * PAPERBACK PARIS * WRITE OR DIE TRIBE * READS RAINBOW In Sarahland, Sam Cohen brilliantly and often hilariously explores the ways in which traditional stories have failed us, both demanding and thrillingly providing for its cast of Sarahs new origin stories, new ways to love the planet and those inhabiting it, and new possibilities for life itself. In one story, a Jewish college Sarah passively consents to a form-life in pursuit of an MRS degree and is swept into a culture of normalized sexual violence. Another reveals a version of Sarah finding pleasure—and a new set of problems—by playing dead for a wealthy necrophiliac. A Buffy-loving Sarah uses fan fiction to work through romantic obsession. As the collection progresses, Cohen explodes this search for self, insisting that we have more to resist and repair than our own personal narratives. Readers witness as the ever-evolving "Sarah" gets recast: as a bible-era trans woman, an aging lesbian literally growing roots, a being who transcends the earth as we know it. While Cohen presents a world that will clearly someday end, "Sarah" will continue. In each Sarah's refusal to adhere to a single narrative, she potentially builds a better home for us all, a place to live that demands no fixity of self, no plague of consumerism, no bodily compromise, a place called Sarahland.

30 review for Sarahland

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Jayyn

    👑👑👑👑👑 (five stars as rated in crowns because "Sarah" means PRINCESS, y'all! Don't @ me cuz it's true.) I was given a free advanced reader copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Okay, I was really hoping to love this book. But, people, I LOVED this book. I laughed, I cringed, and I related to SO, so much. This is a book for anyone who has experienced an awkward phase/decade/existence. I really can not recommend it highly enough. I would give five stars to 👑👑👑👑👑 (five stars as rated in crowns because "Sarah" means PRINCESS, y'all! Don't @ me cuz it's true.) I was given a free advanced reader copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Okay, I was really hoping to love this book. But, people, I LOVED this book. I laughed, I cringed, and I related to SO, so much. This is a book for anyone who has experienced an awkward phase/decade/existence. I really can not recommend it highly enough. I would give five stars to every story minus one that, truth be told, actually really bothered me. (view spoiler)[ I am just not into biblical retellings, especially when excuses seem to be made for the more problematic themes of said story? i.e slavery, forced servitude and less than consensual surrogacy?? Um... what?? Yuck. (hide spoiler)] Next to all the other, wonderfully progressive tales, I was very disappointed and disturbed by that one. Like, REALLY disturbed. THAT BEING SAID, the rest of the book was marvelous. So much so that I didn't dock any stars for the one bothersome one. Content warnings for these stories: antisemitism, alcohol, drinking culture, college culture, underage drinking, body shaming, questionable sexual consent, forced surrogacy, forced servitude, slavery, sex, disordered eating, sex work, depression estrangement from a parent, toxic relationships, codependency, bullying, cliques, bdsm, abduction, self harm, breath play

  2. 4 out of 5

    Wei Tchou

    So smart and so funny, yet somehow also found myself crying from all kinds of complicated emotions many times while reading this book of short stories. I loved how I was surprised by where every sentence went -- every narrative, page, and phrase was its own adventure, and the prose is just so so so alive. I feel a lot more thoughtful, educated, and empathetic about femme identity, Jewish identity, queerness, being a girl, being a woman, being a human, being a part of nature, being responsible fo So smart and so funny, yet somehow also found myself crying from all kinds of complicated emotions many times while reading this book of short stories. I loved how I was surprised by where every sentence went -- every narrative, page, and phrase was its own adventure, and the prose is just so so so alive. I feel a lot more thoughtful, educated, and empathetic about femme identity, Jewish identity, queerness, being a girl, being a woman, being a human, being a part of nature, being responsible for our world and the communities in it, after reading. I am trying to wait the right amount of time before reading it again, but I am really excited. The ending is so good that I want to spoil it here but I won't.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Yeomelakis

    Recommended by Ann Friedman

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Rated and reviewed only for the story "All the Teenaged Sarahs," which it is possible to read here if you wish to. This story is very, very good at what it does and I wish I hadn't read it, honestly. It needs... a very long list of CWs, that I'm not actually going to look back through the story to list, but consider yourself fairly warned. (view spoiler)[For anyone who has schizophrenia or has ever been close to someone who is living with (around, through) schizophrenia (or for that matter has r Rated and reviewed only for the story "All the Teenaged Sarahs," which it is possible to read here if you wish to. This story is very, very good at what it does and I wish I hadn't read it, honestly. It needs... a very long list of CWs, that I'm not actually going to look back through the story to list, but consider yourself fairly warned. (view spoiler)[For anyone who has schizophrenia or has ever been close to someone who is living with (around, through) schizophrenia (or for that matter has read The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness), the story is riddled with clues that the titular Sarah drifts in and out of focus with the reality that the people around her experience, and she suffers the same abuses that people do in real life who live with similar conditions. (hide spoiler)] The author's compassion for the main character is clear from how effectively the POV is written, but this is a very difficult story to inhabit, even briefly.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This might be one of the more interesting short story collections I’ve ever read. Each story is layered in deeper meaning than what’s on the surface and they each feature one or more Sarah characters. There is no adherence to a single type of narrative. The stories explore history, culture, folklore, sexuality, and the gender binary. Incredibly trippy at times and startlingly candid at others. But what connects them together is the freeing of the self, of identity.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    What’s in a name? Growing up with a frequently selected forename I’d always been one of many Matthews, and for years I attempted to find a deeper connection between us other than our respective parents’ taste in branding. I never found any such commonality; if anything, it was one of my first lessons in individuality. Now, as a father to a daughter with a slightly more unique first name than that of my own, our ears perk up when we hear of another Cecilia around town. Initially it brought nothin What’s in a name? Growing up with a frequently selected forename I’d always been one of many Matthews, and for years I attempted to find a deeper connection between us other than our respective parents’ taste in branding. I never found any such commonality; if anything, it was one of my first lessons in individuality. Now, as a father to a daughter with a slightly more unique first name than that of my own, our ears perk up when we hear of another Cecilia around town. Initially it brought nothing but strife: "I’m the real Cece!" my kid would say, wholly sincere and of the belief that her name had been unrightfully taken away from her. Suffice to say Cecilia grew out of this phase, and has now accepted the fact that while we as individuals are unique, our names often are not. Names are cyclical, like fashion trends. Growing up I went to school with endless amounts of Julies and Jennys, who would be replaced by Madisons and Addisons, who would be replaced by Esthers and Emmas, who would be replaced by more Julies and Jennys. Sure, there were your anomalies, your parents who manipulated the spelling of timeless names in an attempt to make their child more unique than the next. But at the end of the day, while our names may identify, they do not provide identity. It is solely on us as individuals to make our names for ourselves. Yet oftentimes that’s easier said than done. These days, your first name could be seen as a pejorative representation – be it Karen, or Becky, or Chad – of all others who share it. Is it fair? Nope. But most of life isn’t fair. Therefore, we must ascend connotation in order to evolve as individuals, or else risk being reduced to walking, talking insults. One of my oldest friends is named Sarah. Her personality has always fascinated me in that for years she was under the impression she should be someone other than herself, which is to say she was a really smart kid who happened to look like, and at time associate with, the more “popular girls.” As an outside observer it seemed pretty evident where her path should lead her; however, she remained steadfast that she could balance both worlds despite being clearly out of place within one of them. She would eventually find her way, yet I know in my heart of hearts she still holds on to that old version of herself, the one who “always wanted to be cool.” To me and to all of those who got to know the real Sarah, she’d attained this coolness the moment she’d taken hold of her identity and crafted it into something no single forename could represent. But what of the Sarahs that make up the stories within writer Sam Cohen’s sharp, provocative collection, Sarahland? Do they too usurp identification for individuality? Do they transcend the labels and (mis)representations and expectations often synonymous with first names? In most cases, yes. In others, the pursuit of individuality is more of a struggle. Be that as it may, the connective tissue between these stories – aside from each protagonist sharing the same first name – is the honesty each of these Sarahs reveal. Sarahland starts with what amounted to be my favorite of Cohen’s stories, her titular tale of a Jewish college girl named Sarah who, as if by default, is grouped alongside other Jewish college girls named Sarah and expected to adhere to the label they’d been given – which is to essentially find a “nice Jewish boy” (aka NJB) to marry. But the Sarah at the center of Sarahland isn’t like the others within her group; this becomes all the more obvious when she starts a friendship with Sasha, a girl opposite of her in seemingly every way. Sasha proves to be more than just a friend to Sarah: she’s a symbol of freedom, of independence. That Sarah even considers sovereignty speaks volumes to Sasha’s influence; what’s more, it offers hope that we can become more than what our names suggest, regardless of how unfair these associations often amount to be. The following story, “Naked Furniture,” is a little more on the nose as it pertains to identity, yet just as impactful. Here, Sarah recognizes her differences early on (thanks to a semester abroad) and breaks away from her pack of “old friends at the state university.” Yet aside from a new haircut and studio apartment and an affinity for nonconformity, Sarah remains lost. It isn’t until a chance encounter on a dating site opens up her world, allows Sarah to be someone else completely, to live within the fantasy of having a double life. (And pay her rent.) Meanwhile, “Exorcism, Or Eating My Twin” posits a Sarah who meets her girlfriend at a Buffy The Vampire Slayer fan convention and becomes obsessed to the point where she believes they are twins. Recognizing this obsession, she attempts to exorcise herself from her twin through fan fiction, casting she and her lover as characters from their beloved television show through which they’d met. I’m not even a Buffy fan yet was riveted by Cohen’s clever execution of Sarah’s self-realization and subsequent reaction to it. Yet not all of Sarahland worked as well for me. “The First Sarah” is a biblical-era Creation story of, well, the very first Sarah, that felt ambitious in scope yet uneven in its execution. The same can be said tenfold of the weird, wild “Becoming Trees,” in which a lesbian couple – wait for it – become trees. Ironically enough, these two stories can be reduced to their names despite their content suggesting otherwise. Sarahland makes up for it by finishing strong, offering a 1-2 punch in the form of “All the Teenage Sarahs” and “The Purple Epoch”. The former acts as a kaleidoscopic summary of one Sarahs evolution from youth to adulthood, whereas the latter acts as its post-script – or, more accurately, a eulogy. In the matter of twenty or so pages, Cohen encapsulates the life cycle of her Sarahs, from birth to rebirth to death, amidst all of the messiness and madness that occurred in between. It’s a fitting end to a fiercely unique work on identity and individuality, and one I can only assume – better still, hope – will help Sam Cohen make a name for herself.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tessa Palfrey

    This book had me alternating between: 1. Laughing out loud, 2. Thinking “I might not be smart enough to understand this,” and 3. Howling "OMG THAT IS EXACTLY HOW THAT IS!" Brief summary: Sarahland (by Sam Cohen) is a twisty (and in places, surreal) collection of stories that each contain a Sarah. Queerness, gender, religion, (the acceptance/rejection of) culture norms, and identity are all themes touched on throughout. I had a really good time reading this collection, but I think my two favorite stori This book had me alternating between: 1. Laughing out loud, 2. Thinking “I might not be smart enough to understand this,” and 3. Howling "OMG THAT IS EXACTLY HOW THAT IS!" Brief summary: Sarahland (by Sam Cohen) is a twisty (and in places, surreal) collection of stories that each contain a Sarah. Queerness, gender, religion, (the acceptance/rejection of) culture norms, and identity are all themes touched on throughout. I had a really good time reading this collection, but I think my two favorite stories were “Naked Furniture” and “The First Sarah”. I also really loved “Gossip” and “Becoming Trees”. And “Dream Palace”. And “The Purple Epoch”. I mean- there wasn’t a dud. Any time I felt myself wondering if this was going to be a collection that would stick with me (or if I could handle another Buffy reference that would float right on over my head), Cohen would drop a line that had me in stitches. The writing is truly funny. Like this, from “Becoming Trees”: “I heard you. It’s a fucked-up story. Two dudes fighting over their shooting skills aka cock size and this poor river bitch Daphne just happens to be there.” “I know,” I said. “It’s like everything.” And from “Gossip”: “Are you okay?” Ada asked. It was weird, for a person with her ass in the air to ask this, but also appropriate. It’s appropriate to ask a dead-eyed lover if they’re okay.” Many stories have an element of a character (or characters) attempting to figure out what’s at their core. From “Naked Furniture”: “There had been a store in Sarah’s hometown called the Naked Furniture Store and this is how Sarah felt, like naked furniture, like something embarrassingly unfinished, something that could be anything.” and: “It wasn’t that Sarah didn’t want to be her own person, it was just that she couldn’t figure out how other people became specific like they were.” There was also so much to relate to. I mean who hasn’t done this (from the title story, “Sarahland”): “Sarah B. gets margherita, which she daubs with napkins until there’s a pile of see-through napkins on the table and the cheese looks putty-dry.” Or maybe felt like this, from “”Exorcism, or Eating My Twin”: “How I felt was, my heart shrunk to walnut size, like a scared snail, like a cold testicle, like I don’t know, something that shrinks very fast in response to a frightening stimulus.” And here, from “Becoming Trees”: “I realized my heart had been scrunched up tight in my chest, because right then it expanded. It made me think of those plastic capsules, the ones you’d put into water and they’d turn into dinosaur sponges. So that was how it started. My heart turned into a dinosaur sponge.” And, finally, because THIS IS EXACTLY HOW IT IS, also from “Becoming Trees”: “We believed in a future in which women used soft power to stop men from using their phallic drills to siphon the earth’s blood, to plumb nonconsensually into it and steal its powerful black energy-juice in order to make their penisy Lamborghinis go faster.” Highly recommend this collection. Thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for the review copy!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth ✨

    "…and this is how Sarah felt, like naked furniture, like something embarrassingly unfinished, something that could be anything.” Cohen’s short story collection is difficult to encapsulate. It’s weird, insightful, fantastical, incredibly imaginative, & deeply, wonderfully queer. Some of the stories build or play off the others & some stand alone. The stories have a sense of ennui about them; of time passing in a haze, of a lack of direction, of a loss of hope in the world & the future. Our Sarahs "…and this is how Sarah felt, like naked furniture, like something embarrassingly unfinished, something that could be anything.” Cohen’s short story collection is difficult to encapsulate. It’s weird, insightful, fantastical, incredibly imaginative, & deeply, wonderfully queer. Some of the stories build or play off the others & some stand alone. The stories have a sense of ennui about them; of time passing in a haze, of a lack of direction, of a loss of hope in the world & the future. Our Sarahs try to fit in at college by drinking & hooking up with boys and instead fall in love with girls; our Sarahs are sex workers with thousands of dollars of unpaid parking tickets; our Sarahs write Buffy fanfic & sing Tegan and Sara karaoke; our Sarahs were horse girls. The characters are mostly young women and the collection feels very millennial, both in mood & in details (TVs with built-in VCRs, 80s suburbs, The Craft). Cohen explores many aspects of identity (for example, being Jewish, femme, queer). Reading this collection gives me a feeling that Cohen gets us - how our thighs chafe, how we have no energy to wash our dishes, how we have a hard time saying no, how we don’t know who we are & we desperately want to. The effect of these stories focusing on many Sarahs is a window into how many girls and women form their identities: as individuals, seeking to fit in with their peers and characters we see in media, and also frustrated by the repetition & conformity, wanting to strike out on our own. One of my favorite stories is “The First Sarah”, a re-write of Sarah & Abraham where Sarah is a queer trans woman & secretly collaborates with Hagar & Mother Earth - I don’t want to spoil anything but wow, I loved it. I also loved “Becoming Trees,” in which two middle-aged queer women, watching their friends transform around them & aware of the impending doom of the climate crisis, decide to grow into trees. “Naked Furniture” & “Sarahland” were also standouts for me. Altogether, a striking & thought-provoking collection. Ending with another of my favorite quotes: “You can want to bottom and want to end structural inequality, Sarah.” Content warnings: sexual assault, disordered eating, fatphobia, self-harm, suicide

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lizzy Wizzy

    “When Jan said that, thought, I realized my heart had been scrunched up tight in my chest, because right then it expanded. It made me think of those plastic capsules, the ones you’d put into water and they’d turn into dinosaur sponges. My heart turned into a dinosaur sponge.” Sarahland is a subversive delight, full of stories about queerness, Jewish American Princesses, mommy issues, gender, body image, self-discovery, and modern disillusionment. The premise of this collection really had me from “When Jan said that, thought, I realized my heart had been scrunched up tight in my chest, because right then it expanded. It made me think of those plastic capsules, the ones you’d put into water and they’d turn into dinosaur sponges. My heart turned into a dinosaur sponge.” Sarahland is a subversive delight, full of stories about queerness, Jewish American Princesses, mommy issues, gender, body image, self-discovery, and modern disillusionment. The premise of this collection really had me from the get-go: “Sarah” as an archetype, not just a name. Here we meet a broad cast of Sarahs and Sarah-adjacent people, and throughout these stories we see glimpses of continuity that makes us question whether the Sarah at the center of each vignette is perhaps one and the same. I like that this element was kept intentionally vague. Sarah contains multitudes. We are ALL Sarah, and Sarah is all of us. Something along those lines. I found myself laughing out loud throughout the entirety of this book, even during the more toned-down stories such as that of the biblical Sarah. I found it very entertaining getting to experience so many distinct iterations of this central character: all-Jewish college dorms filled with Sarahs, Sarah as a jaded sex worker, Sarah as a parasitic lesbian, Sarah as a woman attempting to turn into a tree, Sarah as an adult stuck in her 12 year old horse girl mentality, Sarah as a prolific Buffy The Vampire Slayer fanfic writer, etc. etc. I found the writing to be perfect in its level of colloquialism. These stories felt very chatty and intimate, which for me truly amplified the comedic effect overall. Sarahland was an absolute delight to read. Even if you’re not Jewish or femme or named Sarah, I’ll bet you’ll find more than a little bit of Sarah within yourself while reading this book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    "Exorcism update: Tegan knew then. She knew she wanted to untwin me, and she still fed my fantasies of twinship. I sit up in bed and take deep breaths, counting to five on the inhale and seven on the exhale, like if I push out more than I take in then part of what I push out has to be Tegan. "~ pg.79 • 🌿 Thoughts ~ SARAHLAND is a piercing, wonderfully crafted, queer collection of 10 stories where Cohen brilliantly explores identity, gender and sexuality. Each story contains a protagonist named Sarah "Exorcism update: Tegan knew then. She knew she wanted to untwin me, and she still fed my fantasies of twinship. I sit up in bed and take deep breaths, counting to five on the inhale and seven on the exhale, like if I push out more than I take in then part of what I push out has to be Tegan. "~ pg.79 • 🌿 Thoughts ~ SARAHLAND is a piercing, wonderfully crafted, queer collection of 10 stories where Cohen brilliantly explores identity, gender and sexuality. Each story contains a protagonist named Sarah and Cohen took such care with each of them. One of my favorites was called EXORCISM, OR EATING MY TWIN where this Sarah is a Buffy fan fic writer who thinks she has met her twin in life and falls deeply for her but then becomes needy and claustrophobic and her twin who is referred to as Tegan (like Tegan and Sara) decides to transition and take some space but Sarah is confused, angry and hurt. It was such a vividly written story! The concept of expulsion was brilliant and I loved how Cohen carried this story out. Sarah's character and actions were so desperate and utterly human. But all these stories offered something utterly human and deep. I enjoyed them all! Would love to hear others thoughts on this collection! I suggest seeking out own voices reviews for this title too. Thank You to @grandcentralpub for sending this collection my way opinions are my own. • For more of my book content check out instagram.com/bookalong

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alysa

    Sarahland by Sam Cohen 👁 Thank you @grandcentralpub for the #gifted ARC! Sarahland is on sale 3/9! TW: sexual violence Sarahland is a collection of wacky and bizarre, but simultaneously thought-provoking and moving short stories, all featuring personal, queer narratives and a lot of Sarah’s. I quickly tore through this work as I tried to wrap my brain around what was happening in these stories. I’m honestly still processing and my brain is working overtime, so I’ll share the blurb on the back cover Sarahland by Sam Cohen 👁 Thank you @grandcentralpub for the #gifted ARC! Sarahland is on sale 3/9! TW: sexual violence Sarahland is a collection of wacky and bizarre, but simultaneously thought-provoking and moving short stories, all featuring personal, queer narratives and a lot of Sarah’s. I quickly tore through this work as I tried to wrap my brain around what was happening in these stories. I’m honestly still processing and my brain is working overtime, so I’ll share the blurb on the back cover to help shed some light on the themes - “The ever-evolving Sarah gets recast: as a Bible-era trans woman, an aging lesbian literally growing roots, a being who transcends the earth as we know it. With each Sarah’s refusal and inability to adhere to a single narrative, these stories potentially build a better home for us all, a place to live that demands no fixity of self, no plague of consumerism, no bodily compromise, a place called SARAHLAND.” If you’re looking for something totally different than you’ve ever read before: get Sarahland. If you’re looking for a unique exploration of the self: get Sarahland. If you want to question everything as you’ve known it: get Sarahland.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lizzie

    I’m not one to read many short story collections but hear me out on this one because it surprised me too. This short story collection can be read in one sitting and tells quite a different narrative than we are used to hearing. This is a short story collection about Sarah, but all different Sarahs. Each story is rich and unique from the preceding story. I personally think that each one builds on another. First, the author pulled me in immediately by referencing an all time fave of mine, Heathers! I’m not one to read many short story collections but hear me out on this one because it surprised me too. This short story collection can be read in one sitting and tells quite a different narrative than we are used to hearing. This is a short story collection about Sarah, but all different Sarahs. Each story is rich and unique from the preceding story. I personally think that each one builds on another. First, the author pulled me in immediately by referencing an all time fave of mine, Heathers! How very. I knew I was in for a treat. I laughed, I cried, I learned things, these stories were delving much deeper than the surface story. So many subjects were touched upon and spoken about so honestly. I think that is what tied the stories together, besides the name Sarah, was the honesty that was laid out in front of us. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I’m not a big fan of short story collections. I’ve changed my mind. Bring them to me like this. Fantastic. Go get this one. Sarahland was published today. Thank you to the publisher and the author for my gifted copy of Sarahland.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay pinkcowlandreads

    A surreal deep dive into the lives is Sarah’s across space and time! This collection of fictional short stories captured my imagination right from the beginning with the first Sarah living in a dorm filled with Sarahs trying to escape from her pre-destined future, to a Biblical Sarah pulling the wool over her husband and teaming up with Mother Nature in hopes of creating a peaceful femme based future, to the Sarah machine giving you the chance to live out your Sarah dreams by play acting famous S A surreal deep dive into the lives is Sarah’s across space and time! This collection of fictional short stories captured my imagination right from the beginning with the first Sarah living in a dorm filled with Sarahs trying to escape from her pre-destined future, to a Biblical Sarah pulling the wool over her husband and teaming up with Mother Nature in hopes of creating a peaceful femme based future, to the Sarah machine giving you the chance to live out your Sarah dreams by play acting famous Sarah’s... This book had me questioning life expectations, gender norms, sexuality and the word around me with its creative worlds and scenes linked together by their common element: Sarah. I laughed and felt introspective reading this collection of short stories... What is SARAHLAND? I’m still not sure, but I feel connected to it as one is connected to the idea of self. This was mind opening read and I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in stepping outside the ordinary! SARAHLAND by Sam Cohen was released March 9, 2021. Thanks so much to Grand Central Publishing for gifting me with my review copy. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Blog link: https://pinkcowlandreads.blogspot.com... #SARAHLAND #SamCohen #pinkcowlandreads

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tasha (Amaysn Reads)

    ***Thank you Grand Central Publishing and Negalley for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.*** A 10 story collection that follows different women named Sarah. The only thing that the stories have in common is that there is a Sarah in each story. The writing is amazing. The way the author takes you on a right was so good and I overall really enjoyed each story. I liked the way she talked about feminism, womanhood, and being a lesbian. (They are expressed as lesbians on the page.) In a ***Thank you Grand Central Publishing and Negalley for a review copy. All opinions expressed are my own.*** A 10 story collection that follows different women named Sarah. The only thing that the stories have in common is that there is a Sarah in each story. The writing is amazing. The way the author takes you on a right was so good and I overall really enjoyed each story. I liked the way she talked about feminism, womanhood, and being a lesbian. (They are expressed as lesbians on the page.) In addition to the big things I listed, she also discussed familial relationships and finding who you are. Almost all of the stories have a speculative element to them. The speculative element moves from mild to the absolute bizarre (Dream Palace and Becoming a Tree, I'm looking at you.) What I can say is that I got a nugget out of all of them. Not gonna lie though some of them were super weird and I didn't really know what was going on. Overall, if you enjoy speculative short stories, I absolutely suggest you pick up this collection.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I'd like to thank Netgalley for the ARC of this book. Here is my honest review. I'm very torn with how to rate this book. I picked it because of the title. Being a Sarah, I felt that it was my duty to read it. However, the content is not the kind that generally appeals to me. It dwells in the danker hallways of brothels and the disquieting corners of the character's subconscious. I also felt like despite the stories different tales, they all kind of read the same in a way that felt repetitive. I I'd like to thank Netgalley for the ARC of this book. Here is my honest review. I'm very torn with how to rate this book. I picked it because of the title. Being a Sarah, I felt that it was my duty to read it. However, the content is not the kind that generally appeals to me. It dwells in the danker hallways of brothels and the disquieting corners of the character's subconscious. I also felt like despite the stories different tales, they all kind of read the same in a way that felt repetitive. I did like the writing style itself. Sam Cohen's words have a surreal quality that made me feel like I was only partially submerged, the world I was viewing was one seen through a distorted lens. I had a hard time relating to the content, so I don't think this book was for me. It might very well be the perfect book for someone else, so I wouldn't brush it off based on my review entirely.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    These stories were somehow gently and extremely weird all at the same time. There were moments in some of them that were so off-putting to me, but I literally could not stop reading. I found myself reading with my mouth gaping open in surprise at times, and completely memorized by the beauty of the writing. I mean how can something so pretty and fun be at the same time so disturbing? What is great about these stories is that I never know where they are going. A lot of times with short stories, v These stories were somehow gently and extremely weird all at the same time. There were moments in some of them that were so off-putting to me, but I literally could not stop reading. I found myself reading with my mouth gaping open in surprise at times, and completely memorized by the beauty of the writing. I mean how can something so pretty and fun be at the same time so disturbing? What is great about these stories is that I never know where they are going. A lot of times with short stories, very quickly in I get "it" and then start digging for subtext, already knowing where the writer is taking me. This is NOT what happened here. . . These stories took me all sorts of places and I had no idea where I was heading. So they call for rereading because each and every story elicits, exacts, and provokes thought. I read one story a day, letting them sink in . . . and now I'm going to go back and dip in and out randomly.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    This was a wild, unnerving, hilarious hodgepodge of sex, gender, dichotomies, continuums, culture, fantasy, magical thinking, self, and other, blurring and overlapping and progressing and regressing. It is everything you might imagine when you consider how many people are named Sarah and how different all those people are and what might happen if you tried to combine them all into one. I went with three stars (internally converted to 6/10, a good score) because sometimes it felt like too much, b This was a wild, unnerving, hilarious hodgepodge of sex, gender, dichotomies, continuums, culture, fantasy, magical thinking, self, and other, blurring and overlapping and progressing and regressing. It is everything you might imagine when you consider how many people are named Sarah and how different all those people are and what might happen if you tried to combine them all into one. I went with three stars (internally converted to 6/10, a good score) because sometimes it felt like too much, but 6 = read this because you'll probably love it. If you find gender fascinating then you will probably really, really love it. I am kind of obsessed with the Sarah Machine, Sam Cohen should maybe patent and create a prototype ASAP, soon to be seen in malls the world over.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Sarahland has me at a loss for review words, and yet I'm a total fan! Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for my gifted copy for review! Technically a collection of short stories, each tale involves one or more characters named Sarah. Some are literal and filled with fabulous pop culture references (Heathers on page 1, anyone?), some are dreamlike and more allegorical. Gender roles, sexual orientation, dolphins, what-am-I-doing-with-my-whole-life and/or after the bar - they're all here. If you en Sarahland has me at a loss for review words, and yet I'm a total fan! Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for my gifted copy for review! Technically a collection of short stories, each tale involves one or more characters named Sarah. Some are literal and filled with fabulous pop culture references (Heathers on page 1, anyone?), some are dreamlike and more allegorical. Gender roles, sexual orientation, dolphins, what-am-I-doing-with-my-whole-life and/or after the bar - they're all here. If you enjoy your short fictions quirky, compulsively readable and a bit sideways dark, do check out Sam Cohen's debut! I'll be back for more of her writing, Sarahs or otherwise. Recommended for the right type of reader! (Read: probably not prudes, lol.) Released on March 9.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mitch Loflin

    I almost quit because from the first couple stories I was really not getting much from this. I'm glad I finished it though - there was a lot I did end up liking. It felt like a project on the boldness of the queer imagination, with some really cool ideas (a magic photo booth that turns you into famous Sarahs, a portal to horse camp). Still though, a lot of the reference points felt really obvious (oh let's do a sort-of gender-swapped-Adam-and-Eve thing, or a Daphne-turning-into-a-tree thing, or I almost quit because from the first couple stories I was really not getting much from this. I'm glad I finished it though - there was a lot I did end up liking. It felt like a project on the boldness of the queer imagination, with some really cool ideas (a magic photo booth that turns you into famous Sarahs, a portal to horse camp). Still though, a lot of the reference points felt really obvious (oh let's do a sort-of gender-swapped-Adam-and-Eve thing, or a Daphne-turning-into-a-tree thing, or have not one not two but three minor Buffy plots - and I famously love Buffy) and not really elevated to feel fresh. Still, I would say I net-liked most of the stories, but I don't know if I loved any.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cat G | _basicbookworm

    This collection of short stories was unlike anything I’ve ever read. At the core, all stories had 2 things in common: characters names Sarah and a search for identity. The stories covered a variety of topics from history to culture to sexuality and gender. The writing is phenomenal and this complicated book will leave you thinking for a while. I have a feeling I’ll have even more to say the more I sit with it. Thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy of t This collection of short stories was unlike anything I’ve ever read. At the core, all stories had 2 things in common: characters names Sarah and a search for identity. The stories covered a variety of topics from history to culture to sexuality and gender. The writing is phenomenal and this complicated book will leave you thinking for a while. I have a feeling I’ll have even more to say the more I sit with it. Thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Sarahland will be released on March 9th.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    I won this book through a good reads giveaway. I really enjoyed how eloquently the book was written and that each story made me think. I did find myself getting bored towards the end and became less interested in the characters and and stories. I found this disappointing since I felt really sucked in the beginning. While not my favourite book, I did enjoy how well it was written. That I cannot say enough.

  22. 4 out of 5

    wellreadtraveler

    Happy pub day to this quirky, weird, funny, heart warming, and jaw dropping book. Sarahland is a book with a mix of stories all about a different girl named Sarah. The whole time I was reading it I was thinking, 🤔 do I know a Sarah I could gift this too after? Any Sarah’s out their? I’m going to write the author and ask her to write a Jenniferland next

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    Truly one of the best books I've ever read. The earlier stories in the collection were ultimately more compelling than those in the latter half, but I was nevertheless sucked into this world of Sarahs: a world to contemplate everything from gender to sexuality to whiteness to Jewishness to being a recently-graduated English major. Run run run to this!! Truly one of the best books I've ever read. The earlier stories in the collection were ultimately more compelling than those in the latter half, but I was nevertheless sucked into this world of Sarahs: a world to contemplate everything from gender to sexuality to whiteness to Jewishness to being a recently-graduated English major. Run run run to this!!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    oh my god I loved this — it is so bizarre and fucked up and queer and sad and funny and just TEEMING with life on every page. probably my favorites were “naked furniture” and “exorcism, or eating my twin” and “the first sarah” and “gossip” but obviously I really can’t pick, I genuinely loved almost every one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura Schoener

    A collection of short stories all centering around a main character named Sarah. Each short story could have easily been its own novel. They were all just that good. The first story especially with Doctor Sarah was such a honest look at the sex culture in college. For people wanting to bridge out of their normal fiction comfort zones, I highly recommend Sarahland.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Any book that starts out referencing Heathers has my attention. Sarahland was quirky and funny but also incredibly vulnerable and insightful. I loved the writing and highly recommend this one. I received an advanced copy in exchange for my review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Johnson

    Sarahland is a short story collection full of wit, humor, and originality. Each story is about Sarah—many different Sarah’s and their search for identity. The stories explore sexuality, gender, individualism and culture. I highly recommend this one if you enjoy your stories quirky, dark and fabulously queer.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emma Reid

    This is an extraordinary collection of short stories examining queerness. While some of the stories were a bit out of my league, I quite enjoyed Sarahland and Exorcism, or Eating my Twin. They were well-written, utterly fantastical, and I'd recommend it for anyone who wants a quick and weird read. This is an extraordinary collection of short stories examining queerness. While some of the stories were a bit out of my league, I quite enjoyed Sarahland and Exorcism, or Eating my Twin. They were well-written, utterly fantastical, and I'd recommend it for anyone who wants a quick and weird read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    What creative and masterful writing! Loved reading about all the Sarahs in this beautiful book!

  30. 5 out of 5

    littlefoot_books

    ⁣ This collection of stories, written by a queer, Jewish femme author, explores identity and finding one’s place in the world, all from the perspectives of various characters named Sarah. It is such a unique and cohesive collection and one story flows effortlessly into another. There is humor, wit, history, sexuality, religion, nostalgia, female empowerment and then some! So much packed into this little book!⁣ ⁣ I loved it. There is even a story about a horse girl, struggling to move into adulthood ⁣ This collection of stories, written by a queer, Jewish femme author, explores identity and finding one’s place in the world, all from the perspectives of various characters named Sarah. It is such a unique and cohesive collection and one story flows effortlessly into another. There is humor, wit, history, sexuality, religion, nostalgia, female empowerment and then some! So much packed into this little book!⁣ ⁣ I loved it. There is even a story about a horse girl, struggling to move into adulthood, who dreams of equine BFFs and horse camp. I was that girl. Kind of still am. I can’t be the only kid that wore a horse sweater and trotted around during recess😂 You don’t want to miss this book! ⁣

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