An Adult Storybook for the Internet Age

Introducing “Star Witness”: A story in seven parts by Joe Meno

Recommended Reading Issue №274

Go to Episode 1 | “Star Witness” Home

Star Witness: A Story in Seven Parts (Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading Book 274)


When Joe Meno, author of the beloved novels The Boy Detective Fails and Hairstyles of the Damned, emailed me this past winter about a serialized story he was writing that was “part Carson McCullers, part Raymond Chandler,” I knew Electric Literature had to publish it.

In seven parts, “Star Witness” tells the story of Shelley, a sheltered but intrepid young woman living in a small southern town. When a local girl goes missing, Shelley spends the night searching. With enchanting illustrations by Alix Pentecost Farren, “Star Witness” is nostalgic and dreamy, but it’s also suspenseful and unnerving. Today, we published the first chapter of the story, “The Girl Goes Missing,” and we’ll publish a new chapter each Friday for the next six weeks. And as a bonus for Electric Literature members, we’re offering an audio version of each episode as they are released, which you can find here.

“Star Witness” combines the tension of Stranger Things with the visual and narrative beauty of a classic illustrated adventure like Alice in Wonderland.

The serialized novel was all the rage in Charles Dickens’s day. You may have heard tell of people crowding the dock, waiting for the latest installment of Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop, desperate to find out the fate of little Nell. Clearly, the way we consume the written word has changed since then. But we haven’t stopped appreciating the thrill of finding out what happens next. Whether we’re glued to Eleven’s flight from Hawkins Lab or the unfurling eccentricities of John McLemore, our addiction to the anticipation and satisfaction of serial storytelling lives on. “Star Witness” combines the tension of Stranger Things with the visual and narrative beauty of a classic illustrated adventure like Alice in Wonderland. The result is an adult storybook for the internet age.

As a nonprofit, Electric Literature’s mission is to make literature feel exciting, relevant, and accessible. One way we do that is by embracing digital platforms to bring extraordinary writing to readers like you — meeting readers where they live online. We’re looking forward to seeing your response to “Star Witness” as we read it together, week by week.

Halimah Marcus
Editor-in-Chief, Recommended Reading
Executive Director, Electric Literature

An Adult Storybook for the Internet Age

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Thank You!