Sex, motherhood and relationships bring three friends together and tear them apart in a melodrama told entirely in verse.
Holly, Andrea and Marissa are all facing midlife crises. Holly deals by losing weight and starting a string of casual affairs, endangering the kind of stable family life that single mom Andrea has always coveted—and so after a string of disappointing dates Andrea starts up with Holly's lawyer husband Jace. Marissa, meanwhile, is dealing with the decline of her congenitally ill 4-year-old daughter and the attitude of her gay son. Along the way, Holly starts to write erotica, Andrea deals with her job at the DMV and Marissa watches her husband, worn out by their daughter's struggle, pull away. But if the copious sex is the lure in this first entirely adult-focused novel by bestselling YA author Hopkins (Perfect, 2011, etc.), it's the mother-daughter relationships that have the most weight. As Holly tries to help her teen Mikayla through her first sexual relationship, she misses the obvious connections to her own acting out; Andrea watches Harley grow into a stronger young woman than her mother ever was, and Marissa breaks her heart trying to make Shelby's short life meaningful. Adoption, abandonment and unwanted pregnancy all make appearances, as the three story lines intertwine. The narrative is easy to follow, and the alternating viewpoints—particularly Holly's and Andrea's—serve to underline each woman's self-delusions and denial. However, the consistently high emotional pitch, along with the constant crises, make this thick volume more soap opera than art, and the verse aspect comes to seem an affectation. The author's fans will undoubtedly love the drama, but newcomers will be dissuaded by the format, if not the page count.
The sins of the mothers—and their friends—come to visit the daughters in this overblown weepy.