Snyder’s debut novel takes place in the two dramatic days following a series of burglaries in an upscale Chicago neighborhood.
Residents of Ilios Lane in Chicago’s Oak Park neighborhood wanted to believe they were helping change attitudes toward diversity, but when someone breaks into the homes in this more affluent area bordered by mostly minority-occupied homes and apartments, subtle changes begin to take effect. The ones who see the most change are the members of the McPherson family: daughter Mary Elizabeth, who is skipping school when the break-in happens, tripping out on ecstasy with her Cambodian friend, Sofia; her mom, Susan, a true believer in diversity who has worked her entire adult life to integrate local neighborhoods; and her father, Michael, who sees a chance to step up to the plate and be the liaison between the violated families and the police. The others involved in the break-ins have various reactions to the crimes. Mary Elizabeth finds her proximity to the burglars has made her the target of Caz’s attention. Caz, a boy at school who has ignored her in the past, seems smitten by her. Sofia finds herself in hot water with her parents. Susan is determined not to let the incident scare off prospective tenants. Alicia and Dan must return from a vacation in Florida to visit her indulgent parents. A semiblind neighbor finds himself beseeched to move in with his sister, and a French chef discovers his authenticity questioned. Snyder’s book encompasses a time period beginning with the discovery of the crimes to a final, life-changing showdown that takes place at the end of the emotionally and physically exhausting experience.
Snyder’s writing is crisp and clean and the premise is unique, but readers may find the characters less than compelling.