Eleven-year-old Delia, on whose acting career her parents have bet more than the house, proves a reluctant celebrity after being rescued from a bedroom fire by her dog, Caity.
Delia and Caity have a special relationship, one that provides the girl with safe harbor from her parents' ugly marriage. Supported by her TV commercials, her mother, Pat, and father, Bart, sink deeper into indulgence, the former popping pills and sleeping with her daughter's agent, the latter puttering with expensive classic cars and largely ignoring Delia's introverted twin brother, Robbie. When Delia signs up for a network sitcom starring the popular Veronica Smalls, the future couldn't look greener. But that dream is destroyed by the fire, which emanates from the seemingly haunted dollhouse Delia inherited from her mother. The heroic Caity (to whose deep musings we are privy) not only busts out of a cage to save Delia, but also climbs up a tree and crashes through a door. The burned girl and dog seem perfect for Pearl, the queen of daytime talk shows. But when Delia resists being portrayed as a victim, the outwardly congenial host—already put out by Pat's demands—reveals the cutthroat qualities that got her to the top. Full of enjoyably nasty touches, this co-authored effort takes its place alongside Megan Abbot's recent You Will Know Me as one of the darkest and shrewdest novels about greedy parents and unthinkingly abused children. The book's supernatural aspects aren't as rewarding as they could be, but there is no shortage of eerie satisfactions.
Novelist Ketchum and screenwriter McKee deliver an otherworldly, satirically streaked thriller about a precocious young actress, her psychically bonded dog, and her increasingly unhinged stage mother.