Winner of the American Library Association’s 2017 Stonewall Book Award—Barbara Gittings Literature Award

Finalist for the 2017 Binghamton University John Gardner Fiction Book Award

Long-listed for the 2017 Chautauqua Prize


“A beautiful, and sometimes rending, debut with a certain ineffable quality that will haunt you well past the end.” —Best Books of 2016 by Refinery29

“A classic coming-of-age story.” —Five Finest Debut Collections by The Toronto Star

“[A] wise, affecting debut collection set mostly in Antelope Valley, CA, in the western Mojave.” —Top Pick, Southwest Books of the Year, Pima County Public Library 

“With sound storytelling and a new and clever voice, Desert Boys is a loss-informed picture of a place and people that are discordant, yet endearing.” —The Rumpus

“Chris McCormick’s great accomplishment in his first novel is that he is able to combine these places and emotions in deeply moving yet entirely unsentimental stories.” —Ann Arbor Observer

“Occasionally a fresh, exciting voice rings out over the cacophony of mediocrity, and one can sigh with renewed confidence in the publishing world: here is a very good writer. Such is the case with Chris McCormick in Desert Boys.” —Bay Area Reporter

Desert Boys is a novel in pieces, an artfully rendered collage … McCormick writes to the specific but evokes the universal.” —Las Vegas Weekly

“[The narrator] is bright and ambitious … McCormick writes of the High Desert losing its remote personality as his protagonist grows up.” —Los Angeles Times

“A head-spinning, technically adept piece of writing … fresh and original without being showy … I enjoyed spending time in Antelope Valley with Kushner and his friends Karinger and Watts and his sister Jean and his uncle Gaspar and his friends in the Future Farmers of the Antelope Valley. I understood why he wanted to leave his hometown and why he can never leave it, not really.” —San Francisco Chronicle

Utterly poignant and breathtakingly heartfelt, Chris McCormick’s Desert Boys is a stunning debut from a promising voice in contemporary fiction … [McCormick is] a master storyteller  … braided together to reveal the stunning contradictions in the landscape of the human heart … Both a collection and a journey, Desert Boys maps new ground in contemporary queer fiction.” —Lambda Literary

Stunningly good debut … When we leave Antelope Valley we immediately want to go back, so achingly good are these beautifully conceived stories. Tender, heartfelt, fully realized stories about family, friendship, and love.” —Kirkus [starred] review

 “A lovely, quiet book by a promising new voice.” —Publishers Weekly

Bold and intoxicating, McCormick’s stories redefine manhood in the face of war, longing, and escape.” —Booklist


Karen Russell

Claire Vaye Watkins

Chigozie Obioma

Peter Ho Davies

Héctor Tobar