Efficient, practical Kinsey finds herself haunted after her best and only friend, Camille, dies in a car accident Kinsey survives.
“It’s been two months since Camille died,” Kinsey tells readers almost immediately, “and I haven’t cried yet.” But the crying, when it comes, is no catharsis. Instead, Kinsey begins to see a twisted, ghostly version of Camille in her dreams—and later on, when she’s awake and alone—telling her cruel, scary things. What starts as a small-town story takes an unexpected turn a third of the way in. Camille’s ex-boyfriend Hunter, to whom Kinsey has always felt superior, invites her on a road trip to San Francisco, and Kinsey, desperate and feeling she has nothing to lose, accepts. Their road trip both brings the two of them together and elicits each character’s self-destructiveness—Hunter’s through drinking and Kinsey’s through denial. Addiction, trauma and mental illness are all handled deftly here, particularly in the case of Kinsey’s mother, who vacillates between callous viciousness (“God, Kinsey, why don’t you kill yourself right now?”) and compassionate but crushing sadness. The romantic plot, which feels inevitable from the setup, resolves itself on a note that feels true to the characters.
Haunting, in more ways than one. (Fiction. 14-18)