Moody and evocative, this book is the very essence of a slow burn, best described, in the author’s own words, as a tantalizingly “slow simmer”, bubbling and congealing, before “morphing into a full-blown boil”.
Margot, our first person POV, is a strange and disturbingly-repressed narrator. Revealing little, and concealing much about what feels to the reader to be a harrowing and traumatic past, all we know is that very recently Margot’s best friend Eliza died, and Margot is now on her own at her South Carolinian college, seeking a newly-solitary social footing, grieving and shaky and uncertain as she faces her new surroundings on her own.
When Margot unexpectedly is approached by Lucy, and is introduced into her pals Nicole, and Sloane, (the threesome forming a close and undeniably cool clique, with icy-eyed Lucy their enigmatic leader), Margot can’t believe her luck when she is offered an opportunity to room off campus with them.
As the girls and their party-loving, alcohol-fueled world unfolds – centering on interactions with the testosterone-soaked frat boys who have unfettered access to the girls’ fraternity-owned (insanely creepy) rooming house – it’s pretty clear that everyone is hiding something, beginning with Lucy, and definitely including Margot, and her obsessive need to fit in.
As the tension mounts, it’s clear that the girls’ house, (and its carcass-filled hunting shed), may just be the most disquieting setting ever penned to page, particularly as host for the inevitable love, longing, power and lust, and all the trappings, that come with partying youth.
A terrific read, and a deeply unsettling one, with twists, turns, secrets and hidden vulnerabilities, guaranteed to keep a reader reading, right up to the doozy of an ending.
A great big thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.