New York teenagers whirl through laughs, tears, hookups, breakups, guilty secrets, and complicated friendships.
Spun around what has become a largely one-way friendship between solid, reliable, introspective Evie and manipulative, thrill-seeking Emma, this soapy tale features the high school girls in repeated floods of tears over friendship drama, dangerous pranks, the drunken driving death of Emma’s older brother, a brief but torrid fling, a tendency to hesitate and overthink that threatens to sink Evie’s art school dreams, and unexpected changes in Evie’s family. Evie, who is poorer than most of her classmates, the mousy one in the shadow of her charismatic best friend, finds herself suddenly cut loose when she does something Emma feels is a betrayal—but as soon as Evie starts to branch out, Emma reels her back into their lopsided relationship. McNamara (Lovely, Dark and Deep, 2012) builds her cast—which is evidently all white aside from a minor character who mentions that he’s browner than his half siblings—largely from contrasting pairs, so readers who enjoy taking sides can, for instance, compare different parenting styles or Evie’s rival romantic interests. Ultimately Evie is nudged into steering her own course. Although the author indulges in a weakness for platitudes toward the end, she never waxes preachy.
A bumpy but occasionally exhilarating ride over emotional rapids. (Fiction. 14-18)