Over the course of one year at a Connecticut boarding school and a transformative summer in New York City in the 1980s, three young women negotiate friendship, crushes, parties, privilege, and the sexual interest of older men on the journey from innocence to independence.
... a bracing, full-throttle dive into female coming-of-age in 1980s New York City ... As haunting and nostalgic as a sepia-toned photograph, Age of Consent captures a fascinating era. From the cocaine-fueled art scene to the hangover-hazy Hamptons, the world that Brainerd conjures is one defined both by lingering old-world glamour and crippling new-world carelessness ... Readers will enjoy the whiplash pace even as—like the novel's characters who become increasingly numb to the thrill—they yearn to pump the brakes before it's too late.
Three teenage girls bereft of parental guidance navigate the intoxicating world of New York City in the early 1980s ... Heady and atmospheric, Brainerd’s debut weaves the energy of glamorous, arty, and treacherous Manhattan into the coming-of-age dramas of her three adventurous heroes.
On the surface, Brainerd’s tale is a nostalgic trip into the early 1980s, including an inspired evocation of the Downtown art scene, but her teenage characters make the greatest impact. The takes on parental neglect and the ways young women are taught to see sex as transactional make this more than a throwback.