It’s 1992, and the world is caught up in the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the Balkan Wars, but for fifteen-year-old Julie Winter, the news is noise. In Portland, Oregon, Julie moves through her days in a series of negatives: the skaters she doesn’t think are cute, the trinkets she doesn’t buy at the craft fair, the umbrella she refuses to carry despite the incessant rain. Her family life is routine and restrained, and no one talks about Julie’s older brother, a one-time Olympic-hopeful swimmer who now lives in self-imposed exile in Berlin. Julie has never considered swimming herself, until Alexis, the girls’ swim team captain, tries to recruit her. It’s a dare, and a flirtation—and a chance for Julie to find her brother, or to finally let him go. Anything could happen when her body hits water.

"Jaffe’s meticulous, frank texturing...presents queer desire as as just one of Julie’s innumerable, unstoppable sensations." -The New Yorker

"The balloon of fear, of embodiment, of nausea, of dread, of openness, expansion, potential and potential to fail — Jaffe folds all of this into prose so tight it holds us on the verge of exploding." -The San Francisco Chronicle

"Highly introspective, thoughtful, and compassionate, Dryland is an exacting and authentic coming-of-age story." -Electric Literature

“Remarkable. It’s realism, but its realism brushes ever so deftly against the allegorical, making the novel shimmer,
part diary, part dream.” —Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts

“Dryland is a gorgeous, layered, meticulous, clamoring, beating heart of a thing about a sullen teenager swimming and not swimming, kissing and not kissing, in Portland in the days of grunge. It will make you want to swim there and back twenty times without stopping.” —Sara Marcus, Girls to the Front

“Moving sideways with its weight of secrets, this novel never strikes a false note.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Exceptional debut, a heartfelt coming-of-age story. . . .Using spare, precise prose, and with a fresh, strong voice, Jaffe explores Julie’s budding sexuality, her unexpected attraction to Alexis, her awareness of the limitations of friendship, and the angst young women face as they begin to confront adulthood.” —STARRED, Publishers Weekly