Eighteen-year-old Sammy was born in Bittersweet, Oklahoma, and suspects she will die there. But while the red dirt of her home keeps her grounded, she wonders if there is more beyond the county line.
Sammy Lester’s life plan involves partying, hooking up, and spending time with Decca, her young half sister, but when her father mysteriously disappears, everything changes. Suspecting that the unpredictable Tuller family is to blame, the white teen seeks the help of local law enforcement. But the sheriff, fearing retribution, refuses to help. Sammy’s former stepmother takes advantage of the situation and presses to take Decca out of state. With nowhere to turn, Sammy decides to find her own justice. Only the appearance of the incredibly sexy, rich, white Brayton Foster offers any respite from her trouble. Nonstop action and an intriguing mystery will keep pages turning, but the portrayal of rural Oklahomans as drunk, violent, amoral, and foulmouthed is at best reductive and at worst simply offensive. Sammy is strong and loyal, but her reckless behavior, including unprotected sex, heavy drinking, and proclivity for random acts of self-destructiveness, makes her a less-than-ideal heroine. The onslaught of brutal violence, animal mutilation, and attempted rape shifts this narrative from story to shock fiction.
Manipulative and unpleasant. (Fiction. 14-18)