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Reviewed by:
  • Tell Me My Name by Amy Reed
  • Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor
Reed, Amy Tell Me My Name. Dial, 2021 [336p]
Trade ed. ISBN 9780593109724 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9780593109731 $10.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R* Gr. 9–12

In a not-so-distant future, Commodore Island off the northwestern coast is one of the few remaining places privileged people can flee to as climate change and class riots rock the outside world. Eighteen-year-old Fern has had the luxury of growing up there, safe and bored, at least until starlet Ivy Avila shows up. Ivy apparently had a fling with Fern’s childhood crush, Ash, a year back and desperately wants Fern to help them reconnect, but Ash’s longtime girlfriend Tami is very much in the way. Nonetheless, Ivy throws a host of parties, snags Ash (at least as a side piece), and lures Fern into a hedonistic descent that brings about multiple tragedies. Reed packs in a lot here—the climate crisis, sexual assault, drug addiction, class commentary, and mental illness—but the plot never feels overstuffed, as it is consistently anchored by Fern’s total (and completely authentic) self-absorption. Her ability to navel gaze as everything around her is literally burning down gives structure to the book, offering a look at the end of the world through the lens of a privileged but broken girl, who’s aware enough of the incoming threats to feel powerless and who essentially throws herself to the wolves before they get her first. Fern’s initially aloof narration becomes sharper and more urgent the more reckless Ivy becomes, and savvy readers might key onto some tonal clues that eventually point to a twist that makes the tale all the more heartbreaking. Reed cites The Great Gatsby as inspiration in her closing notes, but this has as much Hitchcockian suspense as Fitzgerald’s tarnished glitz. [End Page 313]



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Launched on MUSE
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