cover image Tiny Imperfections

Tiny Imperfections

Alli Frank and Asha Youmans. Putnam, $16 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-593-08502-8

Frank and Youmans pack their debut with drama and exposition, sidelining romance in favor of a prolonged glimpse into the glamorous, ultra-competitive world of San Francisco private schools. Josie Bordelon, director of admissions for Fairchild Country Day School, has an extremely stressful personal life: her beloved Aunt Viv is ill, her daughter is graduating from high school, and her best friend is on her case to start dating again following a two-year dry spell. Enter Ty Golden, who Josie believes to be a gay prospective Fairchild parent and with whom she strikes up a very flirtatious friendship. Josie’s family connections, especially her angst-ridden relationship with her daughter (which is sorely affected by Josie’s lingering issues with her own mother), are far stronger and more believable than the romance, which is not given enough time to develop. The glitzy, high stakes world and gossipy narrative voice will put readers in mind of Crazy Rich Asians, but the story gets bogged down in overexplaining the ins and outs of the admissions process, and none of the many subplots vying for readers’ attention is given sufficient room to breathe. Readers will enjoy the atmosphere, but wish for more cohesion. Agent: Liza Fleissig, Liza Royce Agency. (May)