cover image Worry


Alexandra Tanner. Scribner, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-1-66801-861-3

In Tanner’s mordant debut, two sisters deal with their anxiety and depression while rooming together. Jules, 28, is less than thrilled when her younger sister, Poppy, moves into her Brooklyn apartment—temporarily, Poppy assures her. The sisters were close while growing up in their Jewish household in South Florida, and Poppy looked up to Jules. After Poppy finished college, however, she sank into a depression and moved back home. Recently, Poppy’s mental health seemed to improve substantially, and she announced plans to settle in New York City. Only Jules knows that before arriving in Brooklyn, Poppy attempted suicide. The pair bicker constantly, in a manner that is both comical and savage (Poppy throws a toenail clipping at Jules during a fight). As things go well for Poppy—she gets along with Jules’s boyfriend, finds a job, and plans to adopt a dog—Jules feels threatened. Anxious about being stuck in her dead-end job as a study guide editor, she soothes herself by “hate-stalk[ing]” the “tradfem” mommy bloggers on her Instagram feed (one of whom claims to have a “mom-crush” on her “mini-boyfriend”: her newborn). Though Tanner finds plenty of easy targets for Jules to mock, she never sacrifices the psychological acuity of the character’s sharply portrayed angst and mean-spiritedness. With unflinching honesty, Tanner captures the claustrophobia of 21st-century young adulthood. Agent: Monika Woods, Triangle House. (Mar.)