This is an odd book for me because it’s actually a book that is less than the sum of its parts. So the plot here is that there is an incident at summer camp in the 1990s and four girls were involved, alongside an older camp “counselor” or more so an older woman working in the capacity as a counselor. We receive scant information about this incident in the early parts of the novel, but we are instead told that Nita “saved” them all, whatever that means, and then we move on and learn about the different stories of the four girls in the incident.
This is where the novel takes off, in its own right, and where my initial comment comes in. The four individual sections about the four girls as they grow up and become women, and live their lives, and are influenced and affected by, but not particularly dictated by the incident are considerably better than the frame narrative has any right to expect to be. In fact, the frame narrative is decidedly weak, while the four individual stories are actually quite good. So it’s a very frustrating book because not only is the “incident” not that enlightening or shaping in any particular way, it’s actually quite distracting in general for the novel, and especially annoying to be put through while waiting for the other stories to begin again. In fact, I think there are potentially four different, solid novels here ruined and waster by an incomplete and unnecessary structural element. It could have worked without an “incident” if more care were spent creating and showing their early friendship, but the way it is now just never comes together in any meaningful way.