A political and erotically-charged debut that follows a young American woman’s transformative journey during one pivotal summer abroad hailed by Viet Thanh Nguyen as “unflinching in its portrayal of sex, desire, racism, and the excitement and confusion of youth.”

An erotic coming-of-age like no other, from a magnetic new voice in fiction, Open Me is a daringly original and darkly compelling portrait of a young woman discovering her power, her sex, and her voice; and an incisive examination of xenophobia, migration, and what it means to belong.



A New York Times Editor’s Choice
One of The Millions’ Most Anticipated Books of 2018
An Elle Best Book to Read This Summer
A Village Voice Great Debut Novel of Summer
A Library Journal Power Debut Novel

“Locascio captures, frankly but lyrically, the heroine’s intense hunger to master her own body and the new world around her.”— The New Yorker

“Locascio is a lovely, imagistic writer […] Open Me spends nearly as much descriptive time on mucus, crotch odors and the grime that accumulates in the creases of an unshowered body as it does on the violent beauty of sex — a choice perhaps even more daring than the novel’s nuanced exploration of a teenage girl’s sexual imagination. […] Open Me explodes clichés of female sexuality. On sex and love, it feels transgressive.”
— Julie Buntin, The New York Times Book Review  

“Locascio manages in this novel to critique white supremacy and false tolerance while also celebrating a young woman’s sexuality and her right to it — a difficult, and often joyous feat that marks her as a remarkable author to keep your eyes on.Ilana Masad, NPR

“Locascio’s hypnotic first novel is thrillingly naughty and politically germane.”— O Magazine

“If you’re looking for a sexy and smart summer read, look no further. In this erotic coming-of-age story, Lisa Locascio explores the female body, politics, and desire.”The Millions 

“This steamy and intellectual debut novel is an ode to the female body, and to a young woman discovering the potential boundlessness of her pleasure.”— Refinery29

“Locascio practically invents a new language, conjuring pure feelings and colors, for their sex…This provocative, intimate, and metamorphosing character study vividly captures a young woman’s life-earned education.” — Booklist 

“Imbued with sex and politics, Locascio’s debut novel casts the traditional bildungsroman into a darker, more feminine light… Locascio centers the female body exquisitely. A debut exploring how we open up to others—and, more importantly, ourselves.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A surprising, bodily coming-of-age story at the intersection of one young American woman’s sexual awakening and the tense political environment in which she finds herself.” Literary Hub

“Locascio’s story of a young American abroad is unflinching in its portrayal of sex, desire, racism, and the excitement and confusion of youth. Infused with erotics and politics, this is a novel that will haunt you.”
—Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer 

“Through the care of her tremendous observations and the beauty of her prose, Lisa Locascio writes a kind of love letter to the female body and all its power and visceral complexity. This is a story of many important layers, but one of the many reasons it remains distinct in my mind is because of its honesty about our complicated, yearning physical selves. A remarkable, fearless debut.”
—Aimee Bender, author of The Color Master

“Captivating and darkly clever, Locascio’s debut melds self-discovery and self-abnegation with raw, muscular grace. By turns beguiling, guileless, and penetratingly felt, this book seethes with eroticism, both physical and emotional—you won’t dare to pry yourself away from it.”
—Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine

“An evocative and compelling remapping of Bluebeard’s Castle for our times. In Open Me, Locascio offers a daring, unapologetic, and vital exploration of female desire.”
—Emily Fridlund, author of History of Wolves

“Not since Henry James’ Daisy Miller have I been so beguiled by an American abroad. Lisa Locascio’s Roxana Olsen may only be eighteen but she is already a desperate sexual adventurer. Part captivity narrative, part political awakening, Open Me will open you, reminding us that nothing really happens until it happens in the body.”
—Darcey Steinke, author of Suicide Blonde

“A lush, evocative novel you won’t be able to put down. Open Me is a masterful debut.”
—T.C. Boyle, author of The Harder They Come