“Intense, passionate, desperate―a wonderful, first-person story about a young woman falling seriously in love. The writing is terrific” (Christopher Nicholson, author of Winter).
In 1988, before her senior year of high school, Nina and her best friend spend the summer alone on Cape Cod. Nina has grown up with her ailing grandmother—and she yearns for the chance of a deeper connection. When she enrolls in an acting course, she soon finds romance with Sarah, one of the teaching assistants.
Nina’s own world revolves around Sarah, while the rest of the world moves urgently on. Nina’s high school teacher does not take the end of their relationship well; her best friend feels abandoned; the AIDS epidemic rages; her fellow actors grow and hone their talents. The novel perfectly captures the revelatory feelings that arrive with young adulthood—the startling awareness of oneself outside the bounds of friends and family, and the twin senses of loneliness and liberation that accompany this knowledge. After a summer of love and loss, Nina slowly finds her way back home.
“A breathtakingly tender coming of queer age . . . Wolff stunningly captures that space between unknowing and knowing and the impossibility of bracing oneself for the heartbreak of first love.” —A. M. Homes, author of May We Be Forgiven
“Wolff’s debut, coming-of-age novel casts a literary spell that recalls the dazzling second book of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, The Story of a New Name (2013).” —Booklist
“Tragic, heartfelt, funny, and charming . . . Captivating and achingly realistic, this is a stunning debut.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)