Following his much-praised debut (The Sandbox, 2010), Zimmerman turns from war-torn Iraq to rural Georgia, where a 15-year-old girl battles for survival.
Lynn Sugrue is the stuff of steel magnolias. Young as she is, you can already see the toughness, tenderness and, yes, the ruthlessness that will one day make her formidable. That, however, is the future. Now it’s summer in sweltering Metter, Ga., and Lynn and her BFF, Dani, are caught between boredom and a hard place. In self-defense they invent the Game, which predictably involves computers, chat rooms, and some flagrant lying about who they are, how old they are, and how available they are for sexual adventures. Surprisingly enough, the Game nets an honest, harmless, sweet-natured young soldier named Logan Loy, more naïve than is good for him. As perhaps only an adolescent can, Lynn falls helplessly in love, a plunge that results in desperate behavior that will eventually make her a stranger to herself. Meanwhile, Lynn’s mom is coming to the end of a love affair with a good-looking, irresponsible, no-account who’s been feckless enough to steal from a gang of vicious drug dealers willing to maim or kill anyone who gets in the way of their revenge. During the course of an excruciating night at the Sugrue house, Lynn, her mother and poor Logan all qualify.
Compelling stuff from a writer who can handle difficult, sometimes grisly, material extremely well. But this coming-of-age story is not for everyone.