Winner of the 2016 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction

Winner of the 2018 High Plains Book Award for First Book

A 2018 Kansas Notable Book

"With heart and precision, and a fresh and resilient humor, Bad Kansas reveals the lives people are living in that flyover state in a collection in which every sentence is a made thing, never merely a vehicle for conveying information to the reader. Mandelbaum’s sharp eye for detail, a deep emotional intelligence, and a slightly canted―yet ultimately compassionate―worldview combine to produce complex, authentic, empathic characters, reminiscent of two of the greatest place-based collections ever: Richard Ford’s Rock Springs and Annie Proulx’s Close Range." - Pam Houston author of Contents May Have Shifted

"A splendid debut―smart, funny, refreshing. I read it with delight." - Lynn Freed author of The Last Laugh and The Romance of Elsewhere



"I was riveted by Bad Kansas: Stories and the characters Mandelbaum crafted...The spark and strength of Mandelbaum’s collection is its capacity to remind us that, in fact, we aren’t alone, not by a long shot." - Shannon Carriger at Manhattan Book Review

"Engaging from start to finish, Bad Kansas is a smart, insightful debut." - Lauren O'Brien of Malcolm Avenue Review.

"Mandelbaum shares with O’Connor a taste in characters whose outsized and idiosyncratic traits border on the grotesque." - Michael Noll at The Millions

"Nobody needs to know anything about Kansas to enjoy this collection, and by the time the last rapier thrust has been extended, you’ll feel better about not having been there.

Mandelbaum is on a tear. She’s witty, irreverent, and clearly a force to be reckoned with. Look for her in the future, and if you see her coming, step aside, because nobody, but nobody can stop her now.  Highly recommended to those that love edgy humor." - Seattle Book Mama

 "Smart, funny, sorrowful, and voicey—all these stories take place in or relate to Kansas, a geographic place and a state of mind." - Leslie Pietrzyk at Work-In-Progress