“Everyone gets to fuck a fool at least once in their life.” So it is for Tandy Caide, the protagonist of Stephanie Wilbur Ash’s debut novel, The Annie Year. Caide is a CPA stuck in a marriage to a man who’d rather eat subs in their hot tub than sleep with her. Her small-town life is predictable and dull, save for the occasional explosion thanks to the local meth-makers. But when a new vocational agriculture teacher arrives on the scene, Caide wakes up. Something about the long-haired, clog-wearing stranger lights her fire. (“It was like he bowled directly into my ovaries.”) An affair ensues, and soon Caide must reconcile her short-lived fantasy with the real-world consequences of her actions. Minnesotans will relate to the passive-aggressive, restrained culture depicted in this novel, and anyone who’s felt stifled by life in a small town will take heart in Caide’s search for excitement, however wayward it may be.