The lives of two girls on the cusp of something bigger intertwine on a dusty road in a small, dead-end New England town.
Amelia has just finished college and is on her way to a summer beach rental with her boyfriend before going to acting school. Becca, just graduated from high school, is looking forward to college and an escape from the "unbearable small-town shit." Just hours before Amelia is beaten and left for dead, Becca's boyfriend breaks up with her—right after they have sex in the bed of his pickup. As the summer goes on, Bridgeton buzzes with excitement at the murder, while Amelia's body lies in the morgue, unidentified. Becca finds herself morbidly, disastrously fascinated with the investigation even as she tries to sort out her feelings about her future. Becca's first-person narration is occasionally interspersed with third-person flashbacks of Amelia's last days, and while her end is never in doubt, watching the events that lead up to it will mesmerize readers. Rosenfield nails the dynamics peculiar to a small town with a large, wealthy summer population, the uneasy civic relationship mirroring both Amelia's and Becca's emotional negotiations. Her language is precise and vivid; Becca struggles to imagine "the crunch of future feet over fallen leaves shot through with orange and ochre."
A perceptive, contrapuntal character study with a light thriller flavor—utterly compelling. (Fiction. 14 & up)