cover image Abroad


Katie Crouch. FSG/Sarah Crichton, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-374-10036-0

A mystery based on the Amanda Knox saga unfolds in this strong fifth novel from the author of Girls in Trucks. Tabitha (“Taz”) Deacon, an Irish student studying abroad in Grifonia, Italy, finds herself caught up in the glamorous lives of a trio of beautiful, and close, fellow students while also nurturing a friendship with her quirky American flatmate, Claire. As Taz spends more time with the Brit Four Society—the nickname bestowed upon her quartet by its leader, Jenny Cole—she becomes increasingly aware of tension beneath the surface. Why don’t the girls let Taz pay for anything? How do they know people in such positions of power? Why do the other girls seem afraid of Jenny? And at the center of the plot is the beautiful, odd Claire, who will be inextricably bound to Taz’s fateful experience. Taz’s friendships develop—and then unravel—against a backdrop of ancient history, in a town that has plenty of its own underlying tension. The similarities to the Amanda Knox story are myriad, and at times distracting, but Crouch explores an overshadowed element of that case: the victim, her thoughts and dreams and mistakes, as well as those she’ll never be able to have or make. “We were all alive, and we loved and hated and lived brilliant, messy existences,” Taz says. (June)