After the Ink Dries
The morning after a party involving alcohol and blackouts, Erica wakes confused but thinking of Thomas, who has boyfriend potential. However, she quickly discovers ink marks, names even, all over her body. She hurries home to hide her shame. Though she tries to contact her best friend Caylee and Thomas, she hears nothing until Tina, the girl who thinks Erica stole Thomas, tags her in online photos. When Erica sees the photos of herself, she discovers an embarrassment of drunkenness but nothing to explain the marks. And the more she learns, the more concerned she becomes about those missing hours. Insults come at her from everywhere, even from those she thought were friends. She doesn’t know how long she can keep it together, with no word from her best friend or boyfriend, and no idea what was done to her in those hours she was out.
Alternating viewpoints delve into Thomas’s guilt and Erica’s hopelessness, while her occasional graphic art illustrates her alter ego and hero, Erica Strange. Triggers include sexual abuse and suicide, but Gustafson tackles both with kid gloves and compassion. This debut novel about a serious topic shows there may be hope in even the darkest of times.
|Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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