Plot: Lepki takes a standard story about a teenager wanting to escape their reality and suffuses it with new energy. Readers will root for Sydney even as her situation grows ever more precarious. Sydney is the definition of a troubled teen: battling a drinking problem, she swirls in and out of consciousness at house parties. As her family and friends pull away from her, she is pulled into a vortex of depression with little hope of escape.
Prose/Style: The reader grasps the weight of Sydney’s spiral into depression through Lepki’s taut, unflinching prose.
Originality: Given Lepki’s background in psychology, she presents the reader with a richly detailed portrait of someone experiencing and surviving depression and suicidal ideation.
Character Development/Execution: Even at her grimmest, Sydney’s tenacity and her plaintive cries to God are brimming with a fleeting hope. Lepki’s pacing is never hindered; she is a skillful storyteller.
Date Submitted: May 27, 2021