A small-town girl is tempted by money and status in this intriguing, character-driven work.
Defying the stereotype, proud, fiercely loyal Alice “Cherry” Kerrigan is perfectly fine being the one who doesn’t get away. She’s deeply in love with Lucas, her boyfriend and neighbor in the trailer park where she lives with her dad and stoner younger brother, and the two plan to marry once they graduate and stay in their hometown. However, when Cherry saves the life of choking movie star Ardelia Deen, it sets into motion a host of events that shake Cherry’s faith in herself and her decisions. There is plenty to like in this novel that maintains a mostly light tone while it riffs on weighty questions about class and the pressures of fame. Not least of all is Cherry’s incisive wit: “Hey! Fucking…Barney Fife! I’m talking to you!” she yells at a security guard who mistakenly thinks that Lucas is harassing her, presumably because he is black and she is white. But the already somewhat fantastical plot stretches even further when it turns out Ardelia is looking for a surrogate mother to have a baby for her, and eventually, suspending disbelief becomes too noticeable a chore.
Smart and often funny but ultimately overly complicated. (Fiction. 14 & up)