Silver Girl

Leslie Pietrzyk's (This Angel on My Chest) fourth book examines friendship, family and how both are affected by class.

It's the early '80s, and a serial killer is on the loose, hiding cyanide in Tylenol capsules. An unnamed narrator has escaped her small Iowa town and troubled family for college in Chicago, which she can barely afford. She envies her best friend, Jess, whose yuppie parents shop and drink out of boredom and sadness. Jess refuses to talk about her sister's recent death, while the narrator feels both distant from and protective of her own sister back in Iowa. She becomes tangled up with Jess's family in ways she never wanted when the Tylenol Killer strikes closer to home.

The narrator is driven by secrets and longing, which for her are often the same thing. She craves acceptance from her fancy school and Jess's upper-crust family. She wants Jess's fiancé. She longs for more, even if she doesn't know exactly more of what. Throughout, she's a mysterious character with a frank voice. Characters insist that they know the real her, no matter how she tries to hide it, and it leaves the reader to wonder whether we do, too.

Silver Girl is a novel about the intricacies of young women--their conflicting desires, their anger and how they hide or reveal themselves. Their relationships--in-born and chosen, loving and fraught--are given ample space for exploration. Raw and beautifully written, Silver Girl is also about whether it's possible to be truly known by anyone, though friends and sisters come close. --Katy Hershberger, freelance writer, bookseller and publicist

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