Socially aloof aspiring writer Eva spends her last summer before college following her new motto to “Walk Through Every Open Door” to gather experiences for writing fodder.
Eva’s goal of “Making It as a Real Writer” translates to affectations of refinement and scorn for the perceived immaturity of the high school social scene. Confidently smug in her own writing abilities, Eva unflinchingly doles out critiques to her writing classmates like, “There’s something missing from this story, and that something is everything,” convinced that tackling weighty subjects makes her sophisticated. But after her teacher counsels her to focus her writing on teen experiences, she attends parties, makes out with several boys, and becomes a day-camp counselor. Eva’s self-absorbed narration reveals that she often views these experiences as mere cultural anthropology, which makes her obvious misinterpretations of events initially quite humorous. But her vanity eventually weakens her friendships and gets her fired from camp, by which point her refusal to acknowledge her own failings has grown tiresome. Having burned through her scant social capital, Eva might be expected to have an epiphany about the importance of trying to understand other people’s perspectives, but the end of the book sees Eva’s narcissism largely intact.
In Eva’s case, the book’s title cuts a little too close to home. (Fiction. 14-18)