Caddie and Rosie are inseparable best friends until the day that Suzanne shows up. Initially, Suzanne is clearly Roz’s friend, but Caddie wishes she could know the dangerous and carefree Suzanne better. And, as if to answer her wish, Suzanne opens up and confides to Caddie, but it is a bit more than Caddie expects.
Suzanne comes from an abusive home and as Caddie learns more, she wants to help the girl and be a good friend. But Caddie is definitely out of her depth and her parents, Roz, and even Suzanne herself try to warn her away. Caddie however is in too deep, unable to reject her new friend and unable to judge that things have gone too far.
While slow starting, I was taken in by the familiarity of the story. Of how urgent everything seemed in adolescence and how hard it was to tell just how far friendship should go. Like Caddie, I often flattered myself imagining that I had the knowledge and skills to take care of any problem I came across. And I didn’t know when to get help and when to pull back. So, to say I related to Caddie’s anxiety about doing the right thing and being a good friend is a bit of an understatement.
As the story progressed, I ended up really caring for these three girls and the bond they have. The signs of destruction are everywhere, and Barnard so realistically depicts the development of these friendships that it all seemed quite believable. Suzanne can be disgustingly manipulative, but it is easy to see how Caddie and Rosie exploit the situation as well. And those tangled threads were very seductive to read.