Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-61620-676-5 $18.95
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-61620-833-2 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 9–12
It’s the late 1980s, and senior Lizzy Swift is starting to chafe at a life circumscribed by nerddom and her secret epilepsy. Enter Claire, a charismatic new girl with a glamorously enigmatic past; Claire sweeps Lizzy up in a new world of cool, involving adventures in the city, trendy bars, and contemporary art. She also leads Lizzy to her long-term crush Matt Ashley, and he, Lizzy, Claire, and Matt’s friend Dave become a regular social foursome. Except often it’s a threesome without Lizzy, and she begins to suspect that they’re hiding secrets from her just as she is from them. As usual, Griffin writes with crystalline clarity of the moneyed and money-adjacent of decades before (Claire’s home life with a cat-loving Grey Gardens-esque aunt is worth [End Page 427] a novel in its own right), and Lizzy’s shift toward coolness is believably awkward, especially in her strained relationships with her old friends. The fact that everybody has a secret, though, means that there are multiple subplots, ranging from sexual orientation to romantic involvement with a teacher, and none really gets enough attention to satisfyingly resolve; Claire is also more a device, an emissary of 2018 viewpoints in 1989, than a plausible character. Lizzy’s move from sheltered kid to socially aware young woman is still impressive, though, and readers with their own secrets may sympathize with her.