In this smart and gripping debut, Leach refreshes a familiar heartbreak by weaving the stories of these three lost young women into a larger, more complicated and ultimately tragic narrative of a nation not so much losing the war on drugs as on a death march every bit as doomed as the last battles in Sparta ... Leach moves the book beyond this fearless and thorough inventory of a complicated friendship ... [Has] the inevitability of a dark fairy-tale ending.
What begins as an intimate memorial grows to a scathing indictment of a teen rehabilitation system that the author describes as not only ineffective but deliberately predatory. Leach also provides the reader with an interesting insider perspective on social media as an aggregator and amplifier of shared grief. Leach is clearly passionate about her loss, but an overreliance on opinion, broad generalizations, and emotional conjecture conspire to undermine her objectivity, thereby sacrificing comprehensive balance.
[Leach] develops sensitive portraits of each girl and suggests how social pressures, combined with health and environmental factors, conspired to damage the minds and then destroy the bodies of three vulnerable young women. A poignant and heartfelt mix of sociology and memoir.