Congratulations to past contributor Vanessa Lopez Aziz who recently published Play it Back.
In her debut novel, Aziz tells the story of a 27-year-old Asian-American woman, Carmen, who reels she has a perfect life. She has a hard-won life and independent lifestyle with a rewarding job, a loving boyfriend, and great friends. She grew up from a socially awkward teenager with immigrant parents and no college acceptances to the person she is today. She has no reason to want to relive her teen years, but that’s exactly what happens when she reluctantly attends her high school reunion and finds herself transported ten years in the past to relive her senior year. Knowing how her life turns out, she figures while she’s in 1999, she might as well enjoy it. She joins drama club, goes to parties, and flirts with the boy who will become her future fiancé. It’s not all fun and games, though, as she realizes her best friends chafe under the changes and her parents’ marriage implodes. As she struggles to navigate her past life, Carmen must confront the question of why she was sent here in the first place – a question that may lead her to the realization that the life she thought had turned out so perfectly may not be everything she dreamed of after all.
The book has received significant praise:
“Play it Back thrives on a simple, but compelling premise – What would happen if you woke up in the body of your younger self? What does it mean? What would you do differently? The novel is an intriguing read from page one, establishing Vanessa Lopez Aziz as an engaging literary voice who deftly blends adult sensibilities with an anxious environment of adolescent uncertainty – and the pressure to navigate (or renavigate) the final year of high school with the promise of college on the horizon. Along the way, Aziz explores the complexities of everyday life – family and friendship, love and loyalty – while seamlessly weaving elements of her own Filipino heritage into a narrative that never strays from its relatable tone. The nostalgic references are a welcome touch for those who remember using printed MapQuest directions instead of GPS systems to drive our teenage friends around to weekend parties.” – Rob Kachelriess, Trivago Magazine
Vanessa Lopez Aziz spent the first decade of her adulthood adventuring. She has lived along California’s coast, Nevada, the Alaskan frontier, England, and Eastern Europe. She’s jumped off mountains, excavated ancient archaeological sites, and lived out of a backpack for years at a time. These days, she is more often found writing than living adventures. She is a first-generation half-Filipino and half-Pakistani. She felt a lack of media representation growing up and now writes stories she has always wished to see more of, populated with quirky protagonists finding their way when traditional labels don’t fit. When she’s not writing, she works as a nurse in child psychiatry.
View Vanessa Lopez Aziz’ “Three Parables” in issue 31 of Superstition Review