Once young and in love and destined for greatness, a pair of recent college grads find themselves dangerously unraveling at the dawn of the 2008 financial crisis in Pitoniak’s energetic debut.
Julia Edwards and Evan Peck fall in love freshman year at Yale. He’s a small-town boy from rural Canada at Yale on a hockey scholarship; she’s a gorgeous prep-school grad from suburban Boston at Yale because that’s where people like her are destined to be. After four (mostly) blissful years of undergrad, the pair moves to New York City, sharing an apartment on the Upper East Side. But almost immediately, the relationship begins to show cracks. Evan is working round the clock as a first-year associate at an ultraprestigious hedge fund; Julia’s floundering, the only one of her friends to graduate wholly without a path. Eventually, through family connections, she gets an assistant position at an arts nonprofit, the main advantage of which is that it is better than nothing. As the markets continue to tank, Julia and Evan drift further and further apart, each of them consumed by a different, sinister game. Evan is tapped to work on a top-secret deal that may not be exactly what it seems, while Julia reconnects with a rakish college pal who seems to offer her access to the life she’d always imagined. Though their paths have catastrophically diverged, both Julia and Evan are facing versions of the same all-too-recognizable post-collegiate crisis: what happens when you aren’t the person you thought you were? Pitoniak expertly captures both the excitement and the oppressive darkness of being young and at sea in New York City, the unsettlingly thin line between freedom and free fall. And while the novel isn’t always subtle in its revelations, it’s deeply empathetic—and always engaging.
A bittersweet coming-of-age drama and a portrait of an era.