To make a story about unlikeable characters work, I think either the writing has to be astounding, or the mystery has to be super-engrossing. This book, told in two timelines, has whiny bratty characters, decent writing, and an aggravating, strung-out-too-long mystery. Sigh.
Young Karen is a semi-uptight college student, rooming with the popular girls and having a vanilla life. Then she meets Biba, a hippie aspiring actress, and her brother Rex, who serves as sort of a safety net/babysitter for his wild child sister. Karen is instantly taken in by the pair, and abandons her entire life to move in with them for a wild bohemian summer after college.
Older Karen has a 10-year-old girl, fathered by Rex, who has just gotten out of jail for Something Bad. There is no mention of Biba in the later passages.
The story jumps back and forth between the time periods, filling in (sloooooowly) what happened to land Rex in jail, and then Karen’s life as a tightly-wound single mom trying to clear a path for her ex-con sweetie, dodging journalists and nosy neighbors. Both time periods are written in first person, which makes it tough to keep track of.
I kept reading because I wanted to know what happened, but these people are ninnies. Rex and Biba (short for Bathsheba) were abandoned by their rich father, and still live in his huge house with a huge garden, which they fill with friends, drugs, and alcohol. Nobody has jobs, and they all think the world owes them fame and love and happiness. It’s easy to see why sheltered Karen falls for Biba’s vivaciousness, but Biba is the wooooorst.
The ending, when it finally gets there, is too pat and too quick (same problem as the last Kelly book I read). Aggravating, avoidable problems happening to aggravating, unlikeable people, written in a hard-to-follow first person. Skip this one!