"I recently read an advance copy of a first novel that’s fantastic: “If You Follow Me” by Malena Watrous. It’s about a young American woman who goes to teach for a year in rural Japan, and it’s incredibly funny and awkward and real — it’s my favorite kind of fiction because it keeps you in the moment with the main character, sharing all her hilariously excruciating experiences."

- Curtis Sittenfeld


“Japan seems to be a particularly difficult place to sort yourself out if you are a sensitive, rules-averse American woman with a flexible sexuality and a penchant for getting into trouble, like the narrator of Malena Watrous’s smart, comic first novel, IF YOU FOLLOW ME. But fortunately for the rest of us, calamity borne with a good sense of humor often turns into a great story.”
New York Times

“IF YOU FOLLOW ME is a good antidote to books like Eat, Pray, Love. Sure, it’s also about an American girl who finds self-knowledge and solace abroad—but Watrous’s novel is no self-indulgent romp. She writes real, flawed human beings in genuine relationships stumbling toward the adorably quirky on one side or the broodingly obscure on the other.”
The Rumpus

“Her writing is direct and conversational. And she is able to deliver an excruciating portrayal of Marina’s internal struggles.”
Oregon's Register Gard

“A distinctive voice lifts it above similar fish-out-of-water tales.”
Eugene Weekly

The Heart is a Lonely Reader

Paper Cuts Blog

The Boston Globe