In a small town, one girl is raped, and another girl disappears.
In the aftermath of her rape, Romy Grey lost her only friend and gained a reputation as a liar and a slit—"[b]ecause 'slut' was just too humanizing, I guess." Beyond the poetic, searing recollection of the rape that opens the book, however, this back story is never directly recounted. Instead, readers stumble with Romy through locker-room viciousness, long shifts at the diner, and constant microaggression from sneering teachers and cruel, powerful Sheriff Turner, the father of her rapist. After an alcohol-soaked party, Romy wakes up bewildered by the side of the road with no memory of the night before. The same day, a popular girl goes missing. Around these twin mysteries runs a tight, unrelenting plot that brings into sharp, brutal relief the difference between reviled Romy and a girl who suffers "a fate no one thinks she deserves." Tough, weary, hurt and scared, Romy makes believably flawed choices, sometimes hurting others and herself. The small, close-knit town of Grebe is a seething cauldron of grudges and loyalties, and each character is not only carefully drawn, but deeply rooted in generations of history.
Unflinching and powerful. (Fiction. 14-18)