In small town Highbone three best friends Magdalene, Isabel and Ruth are slowly being pushed over the edge by the invisible hand of sexism, misogyny and abuse. When their simmering female rage boils over the consequences become dire and not all of them will make it out. Initially the trio bonds over their private bonfires, where they set fire to the things holding them down. It’s just to let off some steam, but when they get the idea to steal drugs to fund their escape from Highbone everything seems to go up in flames around them.
Set in the late 1970’s, this YA falls on the literary side. A ton of the marketing and even the synopsis of this book sound very dramatic and earth shattering but it’s actually a quiet book with a darkness that sort of sneaks up on you. You sort of become entranced in the day to day struggles of the characters and discover all of the real drama and tragedy lies in what is never said.
With Little Wrecks you think you know the book you are reading and then it turns it on it’s head. It’s a story about friendship, letting go and what it takes to survive.
I reviewed this book for Audiofile and wouldn’t have picked it up on my own. Between this and Be True To Me I think 70’s’ YA is in my new wheelhouse. As cliched as it is to say I find it refreshing when cell phones and social media is out of the picture.
In the the 1970s, three disillusioned teens commit a crime to fund their escape from Highbone, a small town filled with emotional pain and sexism hiding in plain sight. Narrator Khristine Hvam’s talent for balancing youthful optimism with impending dread is the perfect fit for Miller’s poetic prose. Hvam creates a belligerent and authoritative tone for the trio’s leader, Magda, who is secretly caught in a cycle of abuse. The reckless Isabel is given a bright high-pitched tone even when her actions turn deadly. Hvam excels at portraying the anxieties and fears of Ruth–the pretty girl trapped in her own dark thoughts. The narration is tied together with a “spaced-out” drawl that fits the time period and makes the slang sound natural and relatable. J.E.C. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine [Published: NOVEMBER 2017]