Andria grapples to reconstruct her life following the death of her twin sister, Iris, due to a lethal heroin overdose.
Set in upper-middle-class Athens, Georgia, Andria’s story initially appears to involve the grieving, confusion, and feelings of abandonment to be expected six months after a sibling’s death. Though well-socialized and a straight-A student like Iris, even after her death, Andria considers herself the lesser twin, knowing she’ll never be the beautiful, superstar athlete Iris was but “a cold, dark satellite orbiting a star that went supernova” instead. Iris had always been the one in the spotlight: their mother had raised the girls believing Iris’ presence in the womb had caused Andria’s epilepsy and even contributed to their father’s suicide when the twins were 2. Now, in the wake of Iris’ overdose, Andria’s survivor guilt mounts as she finds herself falling for the boyfriend under whose influence her sister got involved with drugs. Throughout the novel, Bridges fuels the budding romance with snatches of famous poems that lend emotional depth to the forbidden love, while she ratchets up the narrative intrigue as Andria and her mother become embroiled in ever greater turmoil that brings them closer to understanding why the seemingly perfect Iris turned to heroin for release.
Though largely plot-driven, Bridges’ narrative effectively shows there are no easy remedies to some of society’s most troubling ills. (Fiction. 14-18)