We Ride Upon Sticks

Quan Barry. Pantheon, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4809-8
Quan (She Weeps Every Time You’re Born) takes a playful, nostalgic run through 1980s suburbia in this tale of witches and field hockey. In 1989, the Danvers Falcons, a high school field hockey team, are on a losing streak. After a depressing defeat, and thinking of the women who were tried for witchcraft three centuries earlier in nearby Salem, Mass., the members pledge allegiance to the devil in exchange for victory. They write their names in a notebook bearing the likeness of Emilio Estevez and wear a raggedy blue tube sock around their arms to mark their pact to an “alternative god” (as termed by team member Heather Houston), which also includes an agreement to follow “any urges you might get all the way to the end no matter what.” As the season proceeds, with the team racking up wins at every game, the 10 girls and one boy begin to act on their desires, leading to several losses of virginity, a book burning, bouts of naked dancing in the woods, delusions of grandeur inspired by Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and Heather’s crisis of conscience. Barry handles a large cast of characters nimbly and affectionately, allowing each to take a turn or two in the spotlight. Readers with fond, or even not so fond, memories of the 1980s are bound to be entertained. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/02/2020
Release date: 03/03/2020
Genre: Fiction
Book - 978-1-5247-4810-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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