cover image The Birthday Girl

The Birthday Girl

Melissa de la Cruz. Dutton, $27 (288p) ISBN 978-0-593-10438-5

Ellie de Florent-Stinson, the heroine of this gripping domestic thriller from de la Cruz (Witches of East End), will do anything to make sure that her 40th birthday party in her new Palm Springs, Calif., home is picture-perfect, even though her life is not. Her former actor husband may be cheating on her; her stepdaughter is home from college, bearing bad news; and Ellie is frantically trying to close a deal that might save her clothing company, and her family, from financial ruin. When Ellie receives a text from a person from her past, she’s afraid he’ll crash her party and bring down her delicate house of cards. Flashbacks detail Ellie’s desperately poor upbringing in an Oregon trailer park, especially the shocking events of her 16th birthday. As the party unfolds, Ellie realizes just how precarious her existence really is. De la Cruz expertly mixes biting satire with suspense and throws in more than a few surprises. Readers will be riveted as long simmering secrets come to light. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Aug.)