Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton / ★★★★☆
Summary: Louise is a broke writer trying to survive in New York City when she meets the wealthy, vivacious, larger-than-life Lavinia. Louise wants to be Lavinia’s best friend, she wants to have what she has, and she wants to be her, and the two strike up a friendship, which evolves into something all-encompassing, intoxicating, and tragic.
It didn’t matter if you weren’t special, she’d say, or even if you weren’t pretty, not even by the standards of Devonshire, New Hampshire, as long as you wanted it badly enough. The city would swoop you up and carry you skyward to all your vaulted aspirations; every single party on every single night in that whole, glistening, glaring city would make you feel like you were the only person in the world, and also the most special, and also the most loved.
This book was a wild ride. It is full of very, very messy characters but a very carefully construed plot. We learn at the very beginning that one of these girls ends up dead, and I loved the way the narration toyed and interacted with the reader by making us privy to certain knowledge like this. It made me feel very on edge about when it was going to happen, and then, the farther I read and the better got to know the characters, I started waiting for it to happen. Both Lavinia and Louise were terrible and sympathetic, and there were times I hated them, times I felt deeply for them, and times I pitied them.
This book surprised me. There were certain places I expected this book to take me, as a thriller and a contemporary, but I felt like the author swerved away from the expected. The plot points in this book were entirely controlled by character, by vaguely planned actions and split-second decisions based completely in emotion. It kept me on my toes, and it kept me waiting for some bigger force to swoop in and suddenly clean the mess that Louise and Lavinia had made. But the book was entirely dictated by their wants, needs, and most of all, their desperation.
This book was fresh and messy and addicting. It’s relatively fast-paced, and I really enjoyed the prose – I could feel the mess the characters had made for themselves practically spilling off the pages. It’s a very entertaining, sometimes fanciful, often sad, and quite desperate story.