It's 1997, and 14-year-old Juliet has it pretty good. But over the course of the next two years, she rapidly begins to unravel, finding herself in a downward trajectory of mental illness and self-destruction.
Narrating between the experiences of Juliet’s past self and the hindsight of her future self, Escoria weaves a story that isn’t just relatable to those with mental illness, but really illustrates what it’s like for those readers who don’t have it ... Escoria’s writing traces the scars in this book with a gentle fingertip, capturing the moments with a dream-like clarity, watching them unfold, knowing what the consequences will be ... The juxtaposition of smiling elite alongside the 'Palms Trash' (as her group of friends comes to be known) is both striking and refreshing.
... searing ... Escoria rejects a traditional structure, opting instead to tell the story in vignettes reminiscent of Eve Babitz’s work, including handwritten notes, official reports and logs, and other paraphernalia from that era. The specificity lends the novel an immersive feel. Interspersed with letters from a future Juliet, who offers a glimmer of possibility if not exactly blind optimism, Escoria’s novel is a moving and intimate portrait of girlhood and mental illness.
Descriptions of Juliet’s hallucinations are vivid, fantastic imaginings ... At times it becomes a numbing catalog of Juliet’s teenage parties and hangouts ... Juliet’s story is most compelling when she is contemplating her future or breaking through her own narrative to directly address the reader ... A vivid if sometimes-repetitive rendering of mental illness and disaffected youth.