This book is weird. It's by an important writer, but it's got a do-nothing cover, a klutzy title and a more typos than usually get past editors. And it's not like it's a small publisher. Simon & Schuster should be able to afford good art and copy editing, right? But also, the novel itself is strangely lightweight. I think Garcia hasn't found her teen audience groove. And maybe Simon & Schuster hasn't found their teen imprint groove yet either.
It doesn't help that her three protagonists are hella privileged, in terms of money and talent. I feel like the story and characters are more at the fantasy level for Garcia, than being ready for a critical audience. The story is still engaging; I read it in two days, and enjoyed it.
Oh, yeah, the story: three teens meet at a Swiss boarding school summer camp in the early 1970s. Vivien, a Cuban-American from New York via Miami wants to be a famous chef when she grows up. In the meantime she suffers her parents' marriage woes. Ingrid is a rebellious German-Canadian whose father did something bad in the war. She is all about smoking, drinking, and getting laid. Shirin a math wiz, from Iran, is the most wealthy of the three, and starts out as the biggest basket case.