Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Gretchen Comba

Second Advisor

Clint McCown

Third Advisor

Richard Fine


There will be fire in New River, Arizona. It’s not like this isn’t something everyone expects from the Sonoran summers that just keep getting dryer, from monsoon seasons that feel like they’ll never come. Through the eyes of several members of this rapidly suburbanizing community, New River Kids is a linked story collection about a community in-flux—a lost people who love their home, hate their home, desperately seek to leave or to stay in a place that can, at times, feel like an adversary within itself. In “Molting,” a woman releases her husband’s dogs to die in the desert as an act of final revenge against his years of neglect. “Erosion” follows a pregnant daughter experiencing a crisis of identity over her mother’s loss of faith, all during a gender-reveal-party. In “Lizard Time” and “Creosote,” a brother and sister reckon with the events following their father’s abandonment. And in the titular story, “New River Kids,” a queer teen and friends host their annual summer bonfire, only to learn that the friend group is splitting up. The stories in New River Kids explore characters who feel isolated. Whether this isolation is a result of the enforced gender-roles and systemic pressures of this primarily white, conservative-Christian community, or a result of the characters’ own actions, the collection explores what it means to be alone while also being a part of a community. How do we thrive in environments where the land and people can be at once beautiful but also dangerous?


© Brenna Camping

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