“Strom paints a portrait of small-town life that is sure to make readers shiver, giving us death, alcohol, addiction, drugs, sex, bigotry, all wrapped up in the neat package that makes up Holm. Shane is heartbreaking, and readers will have a hard time parting with him after the book is over. A powerful depiction of the currency of intolerance and addiction in one small town."

Kirkus Reviews

"Strom’s insightful navigation of family trauma, sexual identity, and small-town despair blends with his chilling depictions of drug abuse. This bleak, unsentimental novel will resonate with readers who like gritty coming-of-age tales."

Publishers Weekly

"Strom's prose flawlessly and fastidiously conveys the intensity and wretchedness of Shane's predicament and surroundings, and yet there is a beauty and poetry to it that implies a sense of hope..." 

Edge Media Network

"Getting to know these characters, it is clear that [abandonment] haunts every single one of them... I felt for all of the characters in the book, even the bullies... Even the racists."

Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"[Strom] writes his characters and scenes with graphic clarity, with no attempt to gloss them over, but does leave the reader cheering for this group of unlikely friends.” 

Bismarck Tribune

“Congratulations needs to be extended for this fine novel, and hopefully [Strom] will continue to add to his literary catalogue by writing further fiction of this caliber.” 

New York Journal of Books

"[Strom's] depiction of young people in the fictional town of Holm, Minnesota rings so true in his debut novel Northern Lights.” 

St Paul Pioneer Press

"Strom’s writing is plainspoken and without airs, and Shane gets under your skin. It’s like he’s drawn with a fine-point pencil. " 

MinnPost Artscape

"You come away from this novel feeling as though as though you’ve met real people and engaged with them in their lives." 

Southern Minnesota Review

"Northern Lights offers, in Strom, a fresh and gifted voice from which much can be expected." 

Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

"Strom paints an aching portrait of a young man searching for a sense of self and belonging..."

Shelf Awareness

“Shane Stephenson is a keeper.” 

Minneapolis Star Tribune


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