A Los Angeles private school student and social media it girl discovers feminism and queerness.
Lulu Shapiro has 10,000 followers on Flash, a Snapchat-like platform, thanks to a scandalous video that was never supposed to go public. She embraces her quasi-fame, giving the followers what they want with sexy snaps of her life while keeping a wall up around her closest IRL friends. When Lulu meets Cass, a fellow private school girl who’s adjusting to her family’s recent wealth, she finds herself drawn to the pretty redhead as well as to Cass’ best friend, Ryan Riggs, an up-and-coming teen real estate scion whose older brother dropped out of high school to found Flash. Lulu and Cass develop a friendship that quickly becomes more at The Hotel, a Riggs family building where phones are not allowed. But just as Lulu, who previously only kissed girls at parties, wonders if she is ready for more, Ryan reveals a nasty surprise that has Lulu questioning the implications of a life lived online and the possessive nature of the male gaze. Romanoff’s (Grace and the Fever, 2017, etc.) writing is compelling and her subject matter timely, but the novel’s arch, jaded voice doesn’t quite ring true for its teen characters, sophisticated as they are. Lulu is white and Jewish, and Cass and Ryan are cued as white; there is ethnic diversity in secondary characters.
A searing take on sexuality better suited to an adult audience. (Fiction. 14-adult)