Over the course of one summer, the daughter of a Canadian indie-rock goddess grapples messily with all of her relationships.
Vic, nearly 17, and her mother, Micky, nearly 38, have always been a unit of two. When Vic was a baby in the 1990s, they toured Canada and the United States with Micky’s band, Dusty Moon. Dusty Moon broke up when Vic’s father, Dennis, left the band and promptly disappeared. With Dennis presumed dead, the mother-daughter pair eventually settles in Toronto. Self-reliant and sometimes forced into the uncomfortable position of mothering her own mother, Vic longs for more autonomy and chafes at Micky’s selfish insistence on continuing to chase her dream of artistic stardom. Vic’s critiques of her mother are legitimate, and Sutherland doesn’t shy away from letting Vic’s own self-centeredness and age-appropriate immaturity show, as when she ignores her best friend and the video game they’re developing together in favor of spending time with her dream boyfriend. Daughter and mother make plenty of mistakes, including keeping secrets, drinking too much, oversharing, making terrible jokes, and throwing temper tantrums. Thankfully, their deep mutual affection is never truly in doubt. A final confrontation at a music festival leads to believable (if tenuous and prickly) reconciliations for all. Both the disgusting steaminess of a Toronto summer and the indie-music world are particularly well-realized.
Readers will cringe at Vic’s failures and cheer for her triumphs. (Fiction. 14-18)