cover image Our Little Racket

Our Little Racket

Angelica Baker. Ecco, $27.99 (512p) ISBN 978-0-06-264131-1

Baker’s ambitious debut focuses on 15-year-old Madison D’Amico and her family during the “shell-shocked” year her father’s investment bank plummets from financial giant to bankruptcy amid rumors of criminal wrongdoing. When his business starts to implode, Brooklyn-born CEO Bob “Silverback” D’Amico relocates to his luxury Manhattan apartment, while back in Greenwich, Conn., his wife, Isabel—previously envied for her elegant taste and old money—tries to remain aloof from a rising tide of gossip and hostility. Isabel’s friend Mina offers comfort with Xanax, and then finds herself among the gossips. Meanwhile, at Greenwich Prep, Bob and Isabel’s daughter, Madison, chooses the company of boyfriend Chip and trouble-seeking Zoe over former BFF Amanda, whose father persists in writing newspaper columns excoriating Madison’s. Alert and sympathetic to Madison’s precarious situation, the D’Amicos’ nanny, Lily, tries to help her charge, but discovers loyalty has its challenges as well as limits. Baker switches perspective among five women (Isabel, Lily, Mina, Madison, Amanda) to create a collage of Greenwich parents, children, and the people paid to manage the parents’ houses and care for their kids. For the Greenwich contingent, there are outsiders and insiders, official and unofficial stories, all teeming with betrayals large and small, accidental and intentional. Baker examines different facets of these betrayals from multiple points of view. As the teenager puzzles out her father’s actions and her mother’s silences, a personal, thought-provoking portrait emerges of the American Dream, complete with a web of visible and invisible cracks in the foundation. (June)