Genre: Adult Horror
Year Release: 2022
Source: Barnes and Noble
Content Warning: gaslighting, vomiting, racism, blood, gore
Cherish is, as her best friend Farrah describes it, white girl spoiled. Farrah, on the other hand, was used to the luxury her parents lifestyle afforded her until foreclosure pulls that rug out from under her feet. She then tries to manipulate her way into Cherish’s family, and then it’s secrets and ulterior motives all the way down.
Gripping, intense, and a compelling exploration of the duplicity that comes with being in control, a delight if you like if you love feeling uncertain and deeply interior character journeys.
Control is a ghost that haunts Farrah’s narration. It’s an illusion of her own making that she wrangles from the freefall that is her personal life. Her parents’ home in an upscale suburb had been seized by the bank, and she turns to the familiar comfort of her best friend and her family’s lifestyle. But Farrah is acutely aware of how different Cherish is from her, despite both of them being Black. Their experience on the axes of race and class are on opposite sides, so seeing the girls become closer due to necessity or survival is particularly interesting. The commentary throughout is incisive and specific, weaving a conversation that goes beyond the microcosm of this relationship.
The pacing of the first half of this book could be described as slow, but I’m going to go with deliberate. Farrah has nothing to hide from the reader, which makes her perspective both compelling and frightening. She’s not doing okay, but more importantly, not okay things are happening to her. It’s so scary to follow a main character who doesn’t know who she can trust outside of herself.
Dizzying in a way that honestly reminded me of the toxic obsession and need for control as Darren Aranofsky’s Black Swan, with the focus shifted to the best friendship between two Black girls who are mirrors of each other and completely inseparable, regardless the outcome.
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