High school can be hell, but if they can hold onto their friendship, Lily and Dari might just survive….
In her debut novel, playwright Corthron crafts a haunting and disturbingly realistic tale of two teenagers from different worlds trying desperately to hold onto their artistic dreams while enduring the vapid wasteland that is their upscale New York City prep school. Returning for the first time since her suicide attempt, Lily, a privileged Jewish white girl, is estranged from her former friends and now finds their lives trivial. Dari, a cynical Trinidadian-American transfer student, is a brooding painter in search of a new muse. Both are outcasts from broken homes drawn together by a mutual need for companionship. Lily and Dari alternate narration (Lily in first person; Dari in third; both realistically profane), enabling the author to build two richly nuanced protagonists whose voices are so heartbreakingly authentic that readers may scan their homerooms searching for them. Vivid details, from the smell of the bums on the 1 train and the brutal taunts of high school social cliques to the all-encompassing isolation the teens feel dealing with parents who don’t quite understand them, practically pop off of the pages. Another treat this novel boasts are secondary characters who manage to be as intriguing as its stars, particularly Dari’s overbearing immigrant father and Lily’s well-meaning mother.
A powerhouse of storytelling that feels timely and timeless. (Fiction. 14 & up)