Quiet but tough June investigates the apparent suicide by fire of her wild former best friend, Delia.
When Delia's death is announced over the school PA system, neither June nor her boyfriend, Ryan, has spoken about Delia in a year. Although the announcement is the first readers have heard of Delia, flashback chapters—inexplicably written in third person rather than in first person like the rest of the text—gradually show her as impulsive, troubled, and intensely attached to June. At an informal, alcohol-filled memorial, Delia's ex-boyfriend Jeremiah approaches June with the idea that Delia may have been murdered. June's subsequent investigation leads to tangles with drug dealers, jealous ex-lovers, and Delia's abusive stepfather. Plot twists keep readers guessing, though some clunky sentence-level writing causes hiccups ("Her voice sounded dreamy and wistful, the way it did when she was fucked up, which she currently was"). June's character is inconsistently drawn, one minute goggling with grating naïveté at the idea that someone in Delia's life might be a drug dealer and the next talking her way into the dealer's party with relative ease. A revelation at the end cheapens the story, reducing Delia to a caricature and removing ambiguity from an otherwise compelling moral dilemma.
Provides some tense moments but ultimately disappoints. (Suspense. 14-18)