Morgan Flowers just wants to hide. Raised by their neurodivergent father, Morgan has grown up haunted by the absence of their mysterious mother Zoe, especially now, as they navigate their gender identity and the turmoil of first love. Their father Julian has raised Morgan with care, but he can't quite fill the gap left by the dazzling and destructive Zoe, who fled to Europe on Morgan's first birthday. And when Zoe is dumped by her girlfriend Brigid, she suddenly comes crashing back into Morgan and Julian's lives, poised to disrupt the fragile peace they have so carefully cultivated. Through it all, Julian and Brigid have become unlikely pen-pals and friends, united by the knowledge of what it's like to love and lose Zoe; they both know that she hasn't changed. Despite the red flags, Morgan is swiftly drawn into Zoe's glittering orbit and into a series of harmful missteps, and Brigid may be the only link that can pull them back from the edge.
Feltman’s writing succeeds in depicting each of these characters with nuance and grace, though the book can sometimes fall flat at the intersection of their important experiences. This is far from a deterrent, though, as readers are sure to find characters to root for and identify with.
Nuanced ... Not all of this works; a thread involving social media doxing nearly tips into unbelievability, and Zoe and Brigid’s outsize but murky wealth too frequently advances the plot. In the end, though, Feltman brings empathy and moments of grace to her characters. This is worth a look.
While Feltman’s narrative is, at times, clouded by too much attention given to the lives of secondary and tertiary characters, the complex relationship between Morgan and Julian places this novel solidly in the category of worthwhile reads. A multidimensional family drama.