... at once a page-turner, a feminist guide, a science primer, and a vision of what forming the messy and rich life of community means ... it offers a passionate portrayal of how the fierce and furious relationship between a mother and a daughter can turn violent. It is in the tradition of novels about untraditional women ... Warm and witty, it carries its intelligence lightly, and feels like a friend for life.
Steavenson depicts her characters with very broad strokes, and the 1950s and ’60s landscape is decidedly generic, but her portrait of the post–WWII American upper class... is unquestionably compelling ... The novel ends with her departure for London, leaving behind a whole lot of unfinished business that blatantly signals there will be a sequel. There's little new in this familiar coming-of-age tale, but it's extremely readable and has an appealing protagonist.
... layered if formulaic ... Steavenson adds rich scientific detail to the lab scenes, but the expositional dialogue and overly familiar emotional terrain tend to wear on the reader. This doesn’t quite stand out.