Author: Laura Moriarty.
Ever since her parents announced that they’re getting divorced, Veronica has been falling. Hard. A junior in college, she has fallen in love. She has fallen behind in her difficult coursework. She hates her job as counselor at the dorm, and she longs for the home that no longer exists. When an attempt to escape the pressure, combined with bad luck, lands her in a terrifying situation, a shaken Veronica calls her mother for help–only to find her former foundation too preoccupied to offer any assistance at all.
But Veronica only gets to feel hurt for so long. Her mother shows up at the dorm with a surprising request–and with the elderly family dog in tow. Boyfriend complications ensue, along with her father’s sudden interest in dating. Veronica soon finds herself with a new set of problems, and new questions about love and independence.
Stuff I Liked:
– A clear, engaging writing voice. I find Moriarty’s writing to flow easily, even through long paragraphs of character introspection, and mixes “telling” and through it a deeper level of “showing” casually.
– Alarmingly relatable. I’ve never been in anything even vaguely like Veronica’s position – caught between divorced parents, med-school career falling apart, torn between duty and kindness on a nightly basis. And yet. Veronica’s panic and hopelessness as she struggles over incomprehensible texts rings from the page (Wondering why I said “alarmingly”? Yes. Stress), and her frustration with herself as she makes the wrong choice again and again. The emotional plot didn’t feel melodramatic or forced, for the most part.
– Actual consequences. One example: Veronica brushes off one of her flatmates, Marley, again and again. (To be fair, she really really needs to study. I feel ya, girl!) Finally, after spending months and months not getting to know her, Veronica lashes out in a moment of anger and deeply hurts Marley (verbally) through a combination of her self-inflicted ignorance and anger. And, as one might expect, Marley doesn’t just magically forgive her, even after Veronica has her end-of-story epiphany; whether or not they will ever be real friends is still up in the air at the end of the story. Not exactly the happiest example, I admit, but it’s true to life, and Veronica has to face up to her faults.
Stuff I Didn’t Like:
– Goes with the flow. Veronica spends so much of the story reacting to what’s going on around her, pushed back and forth by events! Even when she does make a decision on her own (a bad one, of course) she’s mostly riding waves of emotion. And on that note-
– The ending. Not to give it all away, but what happened? I don’t know. Veronica makes one good decision for herself, and I suppose we’re supposed to assume that means she’s turned everything around, her life changes right here, it’s all going to be okay? I would have liked a bit more “wrapping up”, more signals that she’s actually changed and it’s the end of an era, not just a convenient spot to stop the story.
Over all, enjoyed the read.
Sexual Content: Man comes home to find a stranger sleeping in his bed (the implication is that his wife is adulterous. She later denies having done “more than talk” with the man).
Language: 15 F-words, 9 scatological terms, 4 derogatory terms, 2 d***, 2 g*d***, 2 hell
Violence: No actual violence, one incident where a young woman catches a ride with a trucker who refuses to let her off at her stop, but changes his mind some way further on and lets her off.
Other: The main character gets drunk at one point, and throws a party that involves college kids drinking and smoking.