Parts Per Million

Parts Per Million, the debut novel by Julia Stoops, is forthcoming April 2018. The manuscript was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize.


When John Nelson abandoned his government job to join a scrappy band of activists, he didn’t realize trying to save the world would be so hard. His ideals remain strong, but his optimism is wearing thin. His fellow activists—computer hacker Jen Owens and Vietnam vet Irving Fetzer—still think he’s a square. And their radio show can’t compete with the corporate media.

Parts Per Million, Julia Stoops’s socially conscious, fast-paced debut novel, is set in Portland, Oregon, in 2002. As the trio dives into anti-war protests and investigates fraud at an elite university, Nelson falls in love with an unlikely houseguest, Deirdre, a photographer from Ireland—and a recovering addict. Fetzer recognizes her condition but keeps it secret, setting off a page-turning chain of events that threatens to destroy the activists’ friendship even as they’re trying to hold the world together, one radio show at a time.



Parts Per Million is a cry for justice and a journey through the heart. Julia Stoops brilliantly conjures the social and political unrest of the early 2000s. The war drums, the resistance, the secretive birth of the surveillance state—all lit by deep emotional honesty. Stoops’ keen eye sweeps us into the lives of three Portland activists—separate souls shakily united by a cause, a house, and a radiant artist/ex-junkie named Deirdre, who simultaneously illuminates and complicates their struggles. Compelling and deeply compassionate, Parts Per Million takes us to a time and place we thought we could forget, but can’t, and shouldn’t. Reading it may be the surest way to understand who we were then, and—in the tumult of our times—who we need to be today.”
—Scott Sparling, author of Wire to Wire

“In her carefully thought-out debut novel Parts Per Million, Julia Stoops gives us a team of young, and not-so-young political activists at the beginning of the Twenty-first Century, working overtime to correct what they see as dangerous if not disastrous forces at work in the American political status quo. Stoops’ adroit involvement of digital technology in the story gives a lively real-world edge to the presentation. Like a heartbeat against the center of the novel’s environmental and war concerns is a love relationship laden with hopes, dreams and challenges familiar to the times. Parts Per Million is a timely and stimulating fictional look at the difficult and too often thankless task of defending the planet.”

—Harold Johnson, author of The Fort Showalter Blues


Julia Stoops was born in Samoa to New Zealand parents, and grew up in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Washington, D.C. She has lived in Portland, Oregon, since 1994. She has received Oregon Arts Commission fellowships for visual arts and literature, and was a resident at the Ucross Foundation in 2016.



Parts Per Million
By Julia Stoops
Forest Avenue Press
Adult Fiction
Publication Date: April 2017
Trade Paper: 6 x 9
Cover Price: $17.95
ISBN:  978-1-942436-35-5
428 pages
Distribution: Legato Publishers Group, a PGW affiliate


Contact us for an early coverless review copy of Parts Per Million. 

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