In Horrigan’s debut novel, a girl struggles to piece together some semblance of a normal family.
Horrigan colorfully portrays the story of an adolescent girl in Oregon with much more than peer pressure to overcome. Protagonist Rainbeau Harley has a less-than-favorable family dynamic. She doesn’t get along with her irresponsible mother; she’s never met her grandmother, and her father is a roadie who is always away. Rainbeau’s father has a twin brother, Miles, a tattoo artist and someone the budding adolescent artist looks up to despite his questionable maturity. Her best friend, Amber, is Rainbeau’s other saving grace, an oasis with whom she can enjoy a square meal and a hug. When the adolescent sees a happy nuclear family on the street, she feels “a sense of longing, a dull ache.” Rainbeau doesn’t fit in at school. Her grades are average at best, and she’d rather be homeschooled than deal with the cheerleaders at her Oregon high school. Most alarmingly, her mother’s boyfriend, Oyster, who “thinks he’s a pearl, but really he’s just the slimy stuff that looks like snot,” repeatedly attempts to have inappropriate contact with her. A cross-country trip to meet her grandmother for the first time, led by her pot-smoking mother, leaves Rainbeau “thirsty for family history, but not this. Not this.” At her grandmother’s, Rainbeau is met with skepticism which eventually melts into familial love. It all comes to a head when Rainbeau decides to act in her own self-defense. The dialogue-rich story creates multidimensional characters that come to life on the page. In addition, Horrigan’s coming-of-age novel has a fast-paced plot that brims with life lessons.
An intimate, emotional journey through the hardships of one girl’s adolescence.