Despite the title, this story is also about fathers and daughters and lovers and friends. Three teens in a small town in California - a beauty who just lost her mother to suicide, a bad boy pastor's son, and a lost girl suffering from horrific trauma - collide, befriend, be-love, and betray each other one summer, and repeat the pattern well into adulthood. Well-written and affecting, and certainly surprisingly assured for a debut novel. I didn't like the Greek chorus of church ladies; it felt forced and tacked on to a story that could stand on its own. Bennett tackled a lot of tough themes - abortion first and foremost, but also sexual abuse, family estrangement, religion and faith - and deftly handled the heft while keeping tight grip on her plot.

EljayJohnson's rating:
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