A debut novel in which a lonely nineteen-year-old working at a North Carolina pool hall accepts an invitation from her charismatic coworker to take revenge on a creepy customer, leading to an amazing friendship but also an introduction to pills and hustling to maintain the high.
Tucker skillfully flips between past and present, swapping the language of sobriety for the slang of active addiction to give readers a full picture of the pair’s mental state. A natural fit for fans of Julie Buntin’s Marlena (2017), Tucker’s novel champions the strength it takes to stay clean when every other decision is so much simpler.
Tucker astonishes in her devastating debut, a harrowing account of addiction, friendship, and loss ... Tucker does a wonderful job locating Irene’s and Luce’s desire to live a better life beneath their tough exteriors...This keen awareness consistently adds depth and devastation. No matter the characters’ genuine longing to change, they are bound to their cyclical, unrelenting patterns. This is a stunning accomplishment.
This debut novel is filled with sharp, vivid descriptions of back roads and seedy meet-ups, which contrast with Irene’s dedication to Luce and her fervent belief in the future that might be possible if only the two of them can avoid thinking about Wilky's death and whether his fate, chosen or not, might also become their own. Absorbing and unflinching.