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If the protagonist of Blau’s previous novel (The Wonder Bread Summer, 2013, etc.) saved all her bad decision-making for adulthood, she might look like the titular Lexie.

The prologue shows readers exactly where they’re headed: Lexie James, on a booze-and-Klonopin bender, is discovered sleeping in her lover’s marital bed. While this opening drama will rope audiences in quickly, Blau’s hand-tipping ruins a lot of chances for potential suspense. Or possibly not, since the cheating relationship at the heart of the novel is so textbook ill-fated that it would be hard to sympathize with Lexie’s runaway passion in either case. Lexie is, ironically (though the irony is lost on her), a counselor for privileged high schoolers at a ritzy boarding school in Massachusetts, and her lover is one of the lead benefactors of the school, Daniel Waite. Besides being a skilled adulterer, Daniel is also the father of Lexie’s favorite student, making for a very tangled web. Before she meets him, it seems that Lexie finally has it made with her sweet job, sweet fiance (who handcrafts guitars for a living), and physical distance from her disastrous childhood in California. Frequent dips into Lexie’s past reveal an uninvolved-then-gone father and a self-involved career waitress mother who mocks Lexie for any achievement and kicks her out of the house when she's 15 to make room for a new boyfriend. But the real trouble with Lexie is that she doesn’t quite add up. Too much time is spent on the past with not enough bearing on the present. Tidbits are always being thrown out about her—her childhood sucked, she’s vain, she lets her phone’s Yahtzee app make decisions for her—without ever harmonizing into a realized character. Pushed to a bigger extreme, the novel might have hit a more humorous note.

It’s a book balanced on thin devices, but Blau is almost as unsparing about Lexie as she is with the other characters, and her pacing is good. Anyone in the market for discount thrills will find them here.

Pub Date: June 28th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-06-241645-2
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Perennial/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2016


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