Queer romance, friendship rivalries, and ominous secrets twist together in Lo’s latest enthralling tale.
Chinese-American Jess Wong has known her white best friend, Angie Redmond, since grade school—the problem is she’s loved Angie for nearly as long, unrequited. When Angie begins dating Margot Adams, a wealthy white student at a nearby private school, Jess knows she should be happy that her friend is happy, but as jealousy and suspicion about Margot eat at her instead, her friendship with Angie begins to crack apart. Jess tries to throw herself into her comics art, but even there, themes of loyalty, love, and betrayal arise. As tensions reach their breaking point, a classmate and friend of Margot’s is discovered murdered in the park, and the resulting upheaval and search for a killer sheds light on some harrowing truths about everyone. Lo has delivered an intricate tapestry of narrative, woven in a labyrinthine pattern of secrets and colored with intersecting hues of Chinese-American identity, the dark intensity of relationships, and telltale stains of blood. A sudden (and likely disorienting) shift from Jess’ first-person perspective to a more detached third-person narration serves the practical purpose of providing information; together with police interview transcripts to which Jess couldn’t be privy, it artfully signals to readers that Jess is no longer in control of the story…or the facts.
Mesmerizing. (Thriller. 13-17)