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The Lauras is more complex than your average coming-of-age tale, largely because of Alex’s deliberate androgyny: a whole novel passes without us figuring out whether the narrator is male or female. “I suppose I was forgettable, came across still as whichever gender a person expected to see … being either and neither and both at once fit me more closely than the other options on offer,” Alex writes. But this chosen indeterminateness is not without consequences: there are a couple of disturbing scenes of bullying and sexual assault.” – Rebecca Foster, Bookish Beck

“The result is the sort of novel that could bridge the gap between literary fiction and the mainstream with a story that whether you can relate to or not, you’re still sure to enjoy. The characterisation is also fantastic, and in many ways it has to be – the book is about the characters as much as it’s about the plot, as the title of the novel starts to hint at.  Overall then, I thought this was a fantastic little read, and just the thing whether you read one book a year or whether you read hundreds.” – Dane Cobain, Social Bookshelves

“Overall, ‘The Lauras’ is an excellent second novel and it is encouraging to see Taylor developing as a writer and continuing to push boundaries. Her thoughtful portrayal of Alex shows that her strengths lie in developing characters who don’t wish to conform to the expectations of society and I’m interested to see if she continues this theme in her work in the future.” – Clare Rowland, A Little Blog of Books

“The Lauras is a pageturning novel, but in rather a different way to most books. There was that feeling for me of just a few miles more on the journey, a few more pages, and so I kept turning them over, enjoying the trip, looking at the scenery out the window, enjoying the company.

I’ve not read Taylor’s debut, The Shore, but it was also shortlisted for this prize a couple of years ago. I know it was highly thought of and I long to read it, and whatever Taylor writes next. This was a very strong start to my reading of the shortlist.” – Annabel Gaskell, Annabookbel

“The title of the book is a bit of a red herring; yes, in theory, Ma and Alex are embarking on a two-year road trip across America to track down the five women—all named Laura—who played important roles in Ma’s life. But the focus of the book is not really on these women, or even necessarily on Ma’s past. Alex, who identifies as neither male nor female, is our narrator; we spend all of our time in their head, and what The Lauras is really about is the slow journey of a person towards comfort in their own skin.” – Eleanor Franzen, Elle Thinks

Young Writer Award @YoungWriterYear

Follow us on twitter. The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with the University of Warwick is a prize of £5,000 for a writer under 35.