This contemporary coming of age tale offers a bleak, compelling portrait of teenagers struggling to overcome despair in rural Northern Michigan, by turning to substance abuse. I was absorbed by Julie Buntin's detailed and sympathetic descriptions of the chaotic daily lives of her teenaged characters. Narrator Cat is an alcoholic adult whose teen years were disrupted by divorce. Forced to leave a school she loved to move with her mother, she befriended new neighbor Marlena, an older girl whose father manufactured crystal meth. Cat survived into adulthood, Marlena did not. Now in her 30s Cat's alcoholism threatens to destroy her life as she recalls her teenage past.