Sorority

Genevieve Sly Crane. Scout, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-5011-8747-6
Crane’s ingenious debut follows the members of a sorority house at an unnamed Massachusetts college in the years before and after the death of sorority member Margot. Each chapter functions as a standalone story that ties back to the house. Some characters, like Margot’s roommate and lover Deirdre, have narratives that revolve largely around Margot’s life and death. For other characters, she’s a background figure as they navigate their fraught senior years of high school or their difficult post-college years. Anorexic Shannon and straight-edge Lucy grow up best friends, but pretend not to know one another as they get ready to rush. Wry, outspoken Twyla, whose dying mother wants to be euthanized, checks into a hospital after cutting herself. Hoping to end her pregnancy, Kyra goes to the first clinic she finds online and is dissuaded by its antiabortion staff. Crane’s prose is thoughtful and haunting; she expertly brings characters to life, especially in Jennifer’s chapter, in which a plain high school senior sees herself in her Crucible character Mary Warren: “I was rehearsing for many years of trying to be seen by the women I hated and adored,” she says. The multivoice structure fits the story perfectly, resulting in a stellar examination of female relationships. Agent: Robert E. Guinsler, Sterling Lord Literistic. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/12/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
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