Horror, suspense, confessional, epistolary tale, recovery memoir, cautionary tale, even, late in the novel, paranoiac noir — Petty leaps from genre to genre with dizzying velocity. At first, it’s jolting, but slowly we begin to see how she’s using shifting genres to show the way trauma works on us, how it shapes our lived experience and the way we frame that experience for others and for our own survival ... Initially, I found the resolution intellectually impressive rather than narratively or emotionally satisfying. But after a day or two, the book continued to work on me, spurring me to question my own expectations of genre, and even story itself, and their capacity to get at stickier truths about trauma and its reverberations and what we expect from narratives dealing with sexual assault. What is ideologically sound is not always narratively exciting, but is that a failure of execution or a failure of genre conventions? ... Ultimately, the novel’s true twist is less about what unfurled that fateful night than it is about form, voice, authorship.
...[an] innovative, genre-busting debut ...The event’s repercussions ripple out through time, as Petty explores it from various perspectives until revealing a set of shocking truths. Alice gets to tell her side, too, but in a wholly unexpected way. Themes of friendship, abuse, reality, and trauma resonate in this puzzle box of a book, and readers will be unable to put it down until they figure it out.
...[a] captivating debut ... Petty eschews conventional structure, replacing parts of the narrative with drafts of Alice’s college admissions essays, her emails to Haley after an abusive relationship as an adult, and Alice and Haley’s teenage screenplays to incendiary effect, and they mix seamlessly with the nimble prose. Though the plot sometimes wanders, Petty’s page-turner is as sly and devastating as the nature of truth.