cover image U Up?

U Up?

Catie Disabato. Melville House, $17.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-61219-891-0

Disabato (The Ghost Network) offers a poignant if strained story of grief, ghosts, and friendship. When Eve, a Los Angeles slacker and witch, finds out her best friend, Ezra, is going to Palm Springs with his girlfriend, Noz, on the anniversary weekend of their friend Miggy’s suicide, thus breaking Eve and Ezra’s initial plans to honor Miggy together, Eve is livid. Various text threads unspool through Eve’s narration, including one with Miggy’s ghost, who encourages Eve to let Ezra “deal with his grief in his own way.” After Eve gets a “u up?” text from Ezra, she learns Noz has just broken up with him, and by the next day, Ezra has stopped responding to her messages. Fearing Ezra has disappeared, Eve drops everything to find him. As she searches for clues to Ezra’s whereabouts, meeting up with various mutual friends amid texting and hooking up with her ex-girlfriend, Disabato makes clear—heavy-handedly—that Eve has some lessons to learn about selfishness and recognizing other people’s feelings. Though the ending’s twists are unsurprising, Disabato makes Eve’s friend group come alive on the page and in her texts. Still, other novels have done more with similar milieux. (Feb.)