Emily Forrest runs Exalted, the hottest astrology account on Instagram, from her studio apartment in Los Angeles. Burned out on meme-making and listicles, Emily's passion for astrology is waning despite her gift for deciphering the signs, until she comes across a birth-chart that could potentially change her mind. Meanwhile in Riverside, Dawn Webster has been dumped once again. At 48, she is forced to return to the same restaurant where she started waiting tables at 18.
These distinct plotlines do begin to bend toward each other eventually, but at first the connection is tenuous ... a deep character study of two women’s obsessions, compulsions and maladaptive coping mechanisms ... there is, quite simply, a deep satisfaction in seeing Emily and Dawn behave badly, suffer consequences and behave badly again — anything to avoid fully facing themselves ... Despite a fair number of truly terrible decisions, it’s hard not to root for them, in part because they’re both so audacious but also because Dorn allows us glimpses into their vulnerability ... also incredibly funny, keenly tuned in to contemporary internet culture and generational differences. My only real complaint about Dorn’s second novel is how little interest she takes in people with my sign. But then I’m a Cancer, which means I have a bit of a victim complex.
... a hilarious and surprising chronicle of astrology packed with sharp cultural commentary ... Told from the alternating perspectives of Dawn and Emily, this salacious trip barrels through Southern California as the two women’s startling connection is finally revealed. The narrative conveys a deep knowledge of astrology, which the characters skewer with sharp-witted observations ... Compulsively readable, this consistently shocks and delights.
Both women are living the opposite of exalted lives: lonely, broke, and self-loathing, if for somewhat different reasons. Emily lies to her friends and family so they’ll like her more; Dawn has sabotaged every relationship in her life by saying the most awful things possible. Luckily, their sharp humor and self-awareness save them from being insufferable even as they say and do terrible things. Like the planets of the zodiac, the two women orbit each other, leading to a toe-curlingly awkward finale that’s as funny as it is cringeworthy. Ultimately, this is a story about seeking—money, fame, fate, and most importantly, human connection; with prose as delightfully moody as its heroines, it's cynical yet strangely uplifting ... A caustic yet charming snapshot of contemporary digital life.