This is the heartbreaking tale of a 17-year-old girl named Olivia. Her teenage mother (Lillian) committed suicide just three days after giving birth by walking into the Mississippi River in the middle of the night. Olivia’s grandmother, who she lives with, suffers with dementia and thinks that Olivia is actually Lillian. Many of the townspeople draw similar comparisons between daughter and mother and it feels like they’re just waiting to see if Olivia will suffer the same fate as her mom when she turns 18.
Fortunately for Olivia, she has a strong group of friends who are more like family than her own kin. We’re introduced to a boy named Jamie, who is Olivia’s closest friend along with Maggie and Max. Each friend has their own share of life problems. Max is Olivia’s on-again, off-again boyfriend who struggles with alcohol issues. Maggie is a bit of a wild child who just wants to have a relationship with her absentee mother. Jamie has major struggles with his father who is a violent alcoholic.
Jamie has had enough of his uncontrollable father and upon a violent confrontation, the father is killed. This leads to Jamie and Olivia fleeing their small Louisiana town with help from Max and Maggie. They escape to New Orleans, where they seek to find a way out of their problems while hoping that no one recognizes them as wanted fugitives.
The writing in this book is excellent and is an interesting look at the complexity and richness of the relationships we have with one another.
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