cover image Wildcat


Amelia Morris. Flatiron, $26.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-80921-6

A writer and new mother flails through life in Morris’s sparkling debut novel (after the memoir Bon Appetempt). After Leanne Hazelton realizes she detests her best friend, East Los Angeles influencer and anti-vaxxer Regina Mark, Leanne surreptitiously gets Regina’s Instagram password and launches a slow campaign to discredit her. While nursing the grudge, Leanne prepares for the launch of her cookbook memoir; grapples with the recent death of her father (she keeps hearing his voice); and struggles to manage a student in the writing class she teaches out of her house, an older man who doesn’t recognize page limits or personal boundaries. A local measles outbreak and the potential exposure of it to Leanne’s son ramps up Leanne’s annoyance at Regina, though her attempts to sabotage Regina’s reputation gain little traction until she teams up with new friend and literary phenomenon Maxine Hunter for a large-scale prank. Seeing the feud from only Leanne’s side perfectly captures the false intimacy of social media and how confusing its connections can be, an ambience intensified by Morris’s arresting, concise observations, such as the description of Leanne communicating with her half-sister “mostly with variations on the heart emoji.” These zany episodes yield great drama. (Feb.)