A twisty, stylized examination of a catastrophic relationship.
Eighteen-year-old Janie Vivian believed in fairy tales and metaphors and true love. Her best friend, Micah, believed that he loved Janie. Despite her crazy ideas and unrelenting mind games, he believed he loved Janie “apocalyptically.” Little did he know that the end of their world was right around the corner. The story of the two friends’ sometimes beautiful and oft-dysfunctional relationship is slowly revealed through an interesting combination of Micah’s present-day accounts, Janie’s flashbacks, and her occasional journal entries. Though it is Micah who wakes up in a hospital room unable to explain to police how he got there or what happened to Janie, the novel, just like Micah’s world, revolves mostly around her, and she is a force. Watching Janie toy with Micah’s heart while executing a plan to make another classmate fall hopelessly in love with her is cringeworthy and at times difficult to bear. When Janie’s plans take an unexpected and horrible turn, it becomes equally difficult to watch her unravel and to drag an unsuspecting Micah down with her. Zhang weaves a dark, complicated tale, steeped in obsession, painful secrets, and mind-numbing vodka.
Readers will be left to decide for themselves whether this is a tragic love story or a psychological thriller; regardless, this is most definitely a novel that will have fans talking. (Fiction. 14 & up)