Why I love it
Four girls on the cusp of adulthood, each dying to get out of their "burn-out" small-time town, have been close friends for years. One hot summer night, Sam Decker, a gorgeous, tabloid-worthy, A-list film star (think Ryan Gosling) walks into their local bar. The girls, astounded by his surprise appearance, clamor for his attention, and Sam is more than happy to oblige. What starts out as a raucous, alcohol-fueled night, however, will change their lives in ways they can’t begin to anticipate. Come morning, none of the girls will ever be the same.
The complicated and authentic relationships among the girls is the thing that really drives this story home for me. Both before and after the fateful night, Maggie, Lindsey, Lila, and Nina are bound together—and pulled apart—by the secrets they each carry. As with every group of friends, each person has their role to play: the optimist, the prankster, the dreamer, the stoic. But the girls are growing into women and their roles are changing as choices are made, connections are severed, and consequences become real.
Over their years of friendship, the group dynamic has shifted, and the glamorous Sam Decker is a catalyst that fissures the friendships. All of the girls will be hurt, and not all of them will heal. I was haunted by how the fallout from a single night can damage the long-standing love of childhood friends, leave wounds that will be carried for a very long time, and impact their futures in ways I can only imagine. That's the next novel I would love to read, telling the ongoing story of these girls as they become women. (Are you listening, Caroline? Time for a sequel perhaps?)
Will the girls find the bravery they need (not the kind found in a beer bottle) to make it out of town and find a better life? Not all the girls will make it but for the ones who do, it is their friendships that will make escape possible. And their one fateful night in a bar makes escape imperative.