Originally published in: 2017
What it’s about: Fifteen-year-old Cat is uprooted from her middle-class suburban life and finds herself a member of the rural poor. She fills her days with Marlena, the neighbor with whom she develops a teenage friendship defined by wildness, loss, and addiction.
What made me pick it up: I heard a review of this on a podcast and was immediately intrigued.
My favorite things: The story is told through both reflections by an adult Cat still struggling to make sense of her time with Marlena, and by teenage Cat as she experiences the life-defining friendship. Cat’s two voices weave together to seamlessly to illustrate the desperation and urgency of her friendship with Marlena. Bonus: the whole time I was reading I had that one Wallflowers song playing in my head.
Who it’s great for: This is a good choice for fans of Elena Ferrante or readers looking for something with a similar feel to Winter’s Bone, The Lovely Bones, or History of Wolves.