Terrific first novel, told from the point of view of a teenage girl with paranoid schizophrenia. Alex has moved to a new high school for her senior year, after having spray-painted “Communists” on the gym floor of the old school. She links up with a group of outsiders, including Miles, a young man she thinks she remembers from an incident when she was seven. She also unwittingly becomes the enemy of a school leader, a young woman who seems to have her own emotional problems, including an obsessive mother.
And here is a key to the book: “thinks” and “seems”. Alex knows she is schizophrenic; the reader knows she is schizophrenic. But neither Alex nor the reader knows when Alex is seeing reality or when her mind has made things up. Talk about an “unreliable narrator”! Alex takes photographs of everything so she can compare reality against her hallucinations. Pictures stay the same; hallucinations soon disappear from the pictures. She wants to go to college; but she needs to keep track of reality to do that – at least match HER reality with that of the students and teachers around her. She is taking medication for her illness, but that may also be unreliable. Challenging and involving.