In the aftermath of her sister’s suicide, Allie’s grief is thick and relentless.
Allie adored her older sister, Leah. What with boyfriend troubles, their mom’s Xanax addiction, and their dad’s affair, the sisters had a pact that they would die together if things ever got too awful. Now, Allie is reeling from her sister’s solo fatal overdose, and she’s not coping well. The story reads like Go Ask Alice, as, page to page, Allie’s swigging NyQuil or swallowing yet another pill. She’s constantly drifting in a haze of queasy highs and nauseous lows. Frequent ghostly visitations from her dead sister seem to lead Allie ever deeper into drug use and further from reality. As Allie learns the many sordid secrets of her sister’s concealed life, she begins to understand the powerful influence her sister had on her and, a talented painter, struggles to find her own voice. Allie’s fraught inner monologues and hallucinated conversations with her sister succeed in illustrating Allie’s emotional struggle. As if her own struggles aren’t enough, Allie’s flat, present-tense narration recounts additional teen drama, such as friends’ squabbles and sexual dalliances, and much of the dialogue feels scripted: “Don’t push me away. I didn’t mean it. I don’t love her like—.”
An earnest, overstuffed look at the collateral damage of suicide and drug abuse. (Fiction. 13-18)