Review by Booklist Review
Seventeen-year-old Chase ("equal parts Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Taiwanese") wants to have it all: a girlfriend, a Stanford education, and control over her own life. And she has most of it, until her girlfriend Lia (a Korean adoptee) breaks up with her and then shows up dead in the water a few months later. As Chase works to find out why Lia died and how, her world and her mind begin to unravel. Suddenly, Hunter--the rich, white girl Lia left her for--becomes an unlikely and sometimes unwilling ally in the search for answers. Chase's story is one of obsession, lies, and addiction, exploring the many ways the human mind will try to block out trauma. Lyu's novel speaks to the social and familial pressures teens often face in high school, and the sometimes self-destructive coping mechanisms they will turn to for a sense of control. Though the combination of melodrama, mystery, and emotional nuance sometimes leave the narrative feeling unbalanced, its compelling, twisty plotting will keep readers guessing to the end.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In this stirring and complex novel by Lyu (The Best Lies), 17-year-old high-achieving Chase Ohara, who is Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Taiwanese, wrestles with drug dependency and grief following her ex-girlfriend's death. Chase's seemingly perfect life as cross-country team captain and future valedictorian has felt off-kilter ever since her breakup with her childhood best friend turned girlfriend, 17-year-old Korean adoptee Lia Vestiano. After Chase ignores a text from Lia requesting that Chase meet her in Montauk--where the pair used to go to escape the expectations of their affluent, predominantly white town--and Lia goes missing, Chase's subsequent search for her turns up empty. When authorities discover Lia's body washed ashore in Montauk, they're quick to label it death by suicide, which Chase refuses to accept. Feeling at fault for Lia's death, Chase teams up with the girl Lia was last dating to investigate. Chase is also inadvertently roped into a cheating ring with the classmate who supplies her with an amphetamine that she takes to help maintain her grades. Well-paced nonlinear chapters feature flashbacks to Chase and Lia's tender courtship and its eventual unraveling, offering ardent depictions of mental illness, grief, and the frequent crushing pressure to succeed. Ages 14--up. Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary. (Mar.)
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
Chase Ohara, a 17-year-old overachiever, grapples with her ex-girlfriend's death while battling addiction. "Meet me in Montauk." That was the last text Lia Vestiano sent Chase. It was the SOS signal they used whenever they needed to escape Meadowlark, the Long Island town they called home. The two girls shared outsider status in their predominantly White community: Chase is Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Taiwanese, while adopted Lia described herself as "ethnically Korean, culturally Italian." But now Lia is gone. The novel flashes back as Chase tries to piece together the facts: Did their breakup tear Lia apart? Did parental pressure push her over the edge? Was it an accident, or did she die by suicide? Chase teams up with Hunter van Leeuwen, Lia's new White girlfriend, for answers. An unreliable narrator, Chase's dependence on fictional drug Focentra--like Adderall, but stronger--distorts her grasp of reality. Overcome by guilt over their breakup and jealousy of Hunter, she tries to make sense of what happened. Muddling through college admissions, Chase wrestles with the mental strain of relentlessly seeking money, power, and status in her affluent community where students stoop to underhanded means of ensuring success. Unable to make space for grief, Chase emotionally unravels. Though this mind-bending novel features skillful character development, the tone shift from tragic romance to school cheating ring scandal is jarring, undermining the cohesiveness of the whole. An impassioned and bold psychological drama that loses focus. (resources) (Thriller. 14-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.