Perfection proves illusory in this modern portrait of a high-living family brought low.
Sixteen-year-old Annie Tripp seemed to have it all—beauty, a picture-perfect and wealthy family, a private school education, and a promising ice-skating career—but always yearned for something more…authentic. Then Annie and her older brother, Jay, are shipped off to her estranged Aunt Nicole and Uncle Skip in Breckenridge, Colorado, while her father’s on trial for real estate fraud. Dumped by her coach, shunned by her best friend, Cee, and judged by strangers for her last name, anchorless Annie accepts a job as a dishwasher at Skip’s restaurant. Expected teenage restaurant escapades ensue (ill-advised hookups, lots of drinking, occasional culinary scenes) as ice-queen Annie attempts to reinvent herself while also struggling to understand her father’s crimes and the reason why her mother has kept them away from Nicole for so long. Hart Hemmings (How to Party with an Infant, 2016, etc.) continues her usual analysis of privilege and familial dysfunction but targets teen audiences with a melancholy, mildly angst-y tale. Aloof and abrasive, Annie isn’t always likable. Her sudden fall from grace may elicit sympathy but feels more like an inconvenience than a high-stakes crisis or a chance for a humbling epiphany. Annie and her family are white, and there are few characters of color either in her elite circles or what Annie deems the “ghetto” ski town.
A mumblecore, morally ambiguous “Cinderella” story, sans prince. (Fiction. 14-18)