A young woman becomes obsessed with finding the truth behind her sister's death in Anolik's thrilling debut.
The idyll of a posh Connecticut boarding school is shattered when 16-year-old Nica Baker—gorgeous, wild and effortlessly cool—is found murdered in the graveyard behind her parents’ house. When another student commits suicide, leaving behind a guilty note and an apology, the police consider the case solved: It was unrequited love gone wrong, the tragedy of the loner boy who killed the beautiful faculty-brat girl who didn’t reciprocate his feelings. For Nica’s older sister Grace, though, something doesn’t quite sit right. Too grief-stricken and drugged to start her freshman year at Williams, Grace is shaken from her haze when she stumbles on some information that calls the official story into question. And so Grace—Grace, who’s always been in Nica’s shadow, Grace, who’s always been high-achieving and risk-averse—finds herself consumed with a murder investigation of her own. What had Nica been doing in the weeks before she died, and more importantly, with whom? Why did she break up with her longtime boyfriend without explanation? Where did the tiny tattoo in her armpit come from? Slowly, Grace begins to untangle a web of secrets and betrayals deeper than she could have possibly imagined. In the process, she begins to find her own identity, an identity that is—for the first time—separate from her sister’s. As much as this is a crime drama, it's also a coming-of-age novel. The plot is high-suspense, but it’s the strength of the characters—and the strength of Anolik’s hypnotic, unfussy prose—that gives the book its lasting force.
Wholly absorbing and emotionally rich, this novel dodges Law & Order: Special Victims Unit clichés to deliver something deeply satisfying.