Marlena: A Novel

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Life looks grim when fifteen-year-old Cat moves to a remote town in northern Michigan with her brother and newly-abandoned mother. Gone is the comfortable, stable home life; in its place is a hand-to-mouth existence. Cat rebels by skipping school and pursuing a friendship with Marlena, a beautiful seventeen-year-old girl who lives next door and whose father operates a meth lab. The girls are brought together by proximity, but a genuine friendship grows–though it’s shadowed by Marlena’s escalating drug use and Cat’s increasingly uncontrollable drinking. When tragedy strikes, Cat’s life is changed forever, and the effects of her brief friendship with Marlena last for decades.

The narrative alternates between Cat’s memories of her months with Marlena in Michigan and her present-day life in New York, where she’s battling alcohol abuse and struggling to save her fraying marriage. When Marlena’s younger brother gets in touch with Cat out of the blue, she has a new reason to reexamine the past–and reconsider what she wants her life to be. Buntin is unflinching in her depiction of young girls hurtling headfirst into life-altering mistakes, and the loveliness of the prose adds an icy edge to a chilling, regret-filled story.


Reviewed By:

Author Julie Buntin
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 288 pages
Publisher Henry Holt and Co.
Publish Date 2017-Apr-04
ISBN 9781627797641
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2017
Category Modern Literature
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