Meet Me in the Strange

2019 IPPY Award Silver Medalist

Davi tries to help a new friend, Anna Z, escape a cruel and controlling brother, and the teens end up running away to follow the tour of their rock idol, the otherworldly Django Conn. The story is set in a weird and wonderful retro-futuristic city of glam-girls and glister-boys and a strange phenomenon that Anna Z calls the “Alien Drift.”

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About the Book


Steve Sherrill (author of The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break) – “Meet Me In The Strange. Indeed. Leander Watts renders this strange world, this exotic, futuristic, dangerous world, brilliantly. You can feel the power of the glister rock, the music that surges through the story, through the bodies and lives of Davi and Anna Z, transforming the pair and compelling them to take the biggest risk of their young lives. It is a story, richly detailed, where the real and the supernatural dance close. What secrets lie in the hidden corridors and back rooms of the majestic Angelus Hotel? What mysterious force in Django’s raw music captures and transforms Anna Z in spirit if not body? Davi must find out. Davi will find out. But threat bites at his heels around every turn.”

Recent Press

  • Portland Book Review (4 stars) –Meet Me in the Strange by Leander Watts is a fascinating book that blends music and mysticism to create an atmosphere both foreboding and full of possibilities all at once….impossible to put down.” – Full Review
  • Locus Magazine, Colleen Mondor – “Meet Me in the Strange is a beautifully written coming-of-age story about all the ways in which you feel most at home when you find the people who are looking for the same home you are. Davi (whose gender is never specified) is a glorious combination of curiosity, self-doubt, and determination, while Anna Z. is delightfully too weird and too certain for manic pixie dream girl status. (She is actually the long awaited evolution of the manic pixie dream girl.) The worldbuilding is subtle, the setting a mix of big city, old world, and some Carnival of Venice flash and style. And Django Conn is enough like Bowie to make a fan weep.” – Full Review
  • Nudge-Books Magazine, Linda Hepworth – “Meet Me in the Strange is a very visual book (it lends itself to being made into a film!) and, for a hugely captivating few hours, felt drawn into a psychedelic fantasy world. Although it is a book which is aimed at the 12-18 age group I, several decades beyond this target group, thoroughly enjoyed being transported to a different realm!”
  • Foreword Reviews (starred review) – “In an intoxicating swirl of futuristic imagery and existential inner reflection, Meet Me in the Strangetreats music and spirituality as one and the same. . . Meet Me in the Strange is a wondrous, alien tale, not quite like any other story out there.” – Full Review
  • Kirkus Reviews – ” The world of the novel, from its language and geography to its layers of popular culture, is drawn with intricacy and vitality. . . A bighearted and imaginative tale about a glam god’s fans.” – Full Review
  • Kid’s BookBuzzVideo Review
  • Drunken Book Review PodcastListen to Podcast
  • YA Books CentralInterview
  • Silverwood Sketches (5 stars) – “Rarely do books transport me so fully and effectively, until I thought I could see the passing light of Alien Drift. I love how this was as much a thrilling coming-of-age as a love letter to youth, words and music.Rarely do books transport me so fully and effectively, until I thought I could see the passing light of Alien Drift. I love how this was as much a thrilling coming-of-age as a love letter to youth, words and music.” – Full Review
  • With Love for Books – “Leander Watts has written a really cool story. Meet Me in the Strange is artistic and original. Because of the vibrant and colorful descriptions I could easily picture the futuristic setting. It felt like looking at a magical painting that constantly keeps changing and I loved the effect the story had on me…unique and surprising and filled with energy, imaginativeness and inspiration.” – Full Review
  • Winged Reads (4 stars) – ” This is a story about being vulnerable, breaking through isolation, and finding places (times, songs, friends) that make you feel you can belong . In a heightened landscape it invites you to float away with it, but it’s a very human experience at heart.”
  • Radioactive Reviews (4 stars) – “This story is crazy and a smooth ride from start to finish…this book was an enjoyable read and I’m glad I got the chance to read it.” – Full Review
  • Brainfluff – “A glimpse into the daily life of an imagined teenager in the future, including his love of music and his attempt to help Anna get free from her brother. Indeed, since I completed this book it keeps popping back into my head – the world and the feel of it, right down to the musty splendour of the hotel, which has seen better days. Recommended for readers who also enjoy music as well as inventive and futuristic world building. ” – Full Review
  • TRL Reviews – “The story was magical and cool and out there (in a good way). The characters had an almost biblical innocence to them which was enhanced and made even more believable by the god-like persona of their rock god. Also, I loved the literary references littered throughout the story (I see you, Frankenstein). Definitely check out Meet Me in the Strange.” – Full Review

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About the Author
Leander Watts

An avid musician, Leander Watts has played and sung for decades in a wide variety of bands. His interests range from garage rock to skronky jazz, from baroque organ to Appalachian gospel. The first rock concert he attended was David Bowie on the Diamond Dogs tour in 1974. He teaches writing and literature at the State University of New York at Geneseo (his alma mater). Leander Watts is the author of Stonecutter, Wild Ride to Heaven, Ten Thousand Charms, and Beautiful City of the Dead.