Reunited as teenagers, two childhood friends discover the secrets and complexities of their image-obsessed hometown
Owen and Angela were best friends for one summer, long before they could comprehend the secrets and politics that have left scars on their small New England hometown. Until their Senior year of high school, they’ve lived different lives in different parts of town.
For Angela, life in Westview has always been easy, her future mapped out by an influential family that has ruled the image-obsessed community for generations. She used to take comfort in that, but now, she wants something more than small towns. She wants the chaos of cities and the comfort of anonymity, a place free of assumptions and expectations.
No matter how hard Owen tries to reinvent himself, Westview won’t forget his family’s past. Despite his relationship with the town and the people in it, he’s drawn to its selective college and the opportunities it offers. He’s starting to think he might want to stay—something he knows he can’t afford and his friends won’t accept.
When their town’s Tercentennial causes them to reconnect, Owen and Angela are forced to reexamine their entire world. As the complexities of class and small town scandals come to light, the consequences of living in the past and trying to run away from it finally start to catch up to them.
The paint on the house was peeling, falling to the mix of dust and dying grass that was once a lawn. Dirty windows glinted gold in the fading sunlight. Her reflection was smudged, distorted. She pressed the doorbell once and Owen answered after a moment, phone pressed to his ear. He looked surprised but quickly hid it in a smile. He led Angela to the kitchen, indicated that she should take a seat at the table.
The scent of summer rain clung to the house. The lights were off. Plates with mismatched patterns were piled in the sink. Swirling blue lines and little red flowers. The kitchen opened into a living room, white walls with pink flowered stenciling scrawling across the top. His sister was curled on the couch in front of the TV, motionless, sleepily mesmerized by the bright flashing images of red-painted lips and high-heeled shoes and bodies sheathed in gauzy fabric. The light gave her face an eerie radiance, simultaneously bright and pale, her dark hair a shadow. The graceful, flowing accents and pitchy, short articulations and velvet murmurs coming from the TV blended with music playing in another room.
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