the Chesire Cat
is a stunning debut from a young writer whose expert literary craftsmanship
rivals that of the most seasoned novelists. With humor both clever
and macabre, Helen Ellis lures us into a world of perfectly planned
parties and steep social ladders. Soon, traditional rites of passage
take unpredictable and horrifying turns as three girls and their
overbearing mothers collide.
Sarina Summer's mother believes that physical perfection is worth
suffering for-- a lesson she faithfully teaches her daughter in
the astonishing opening scene. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, beauty is
as beauty does, with axes and knives and in-your-face backstabbing.
Ruthless and vindictive, Sarina will stop at nothing to have it
Lurking in Sarina's shadow is Nicole Hicks, Sarina's devoted friend
with only a fragile grasp on reality, whose repeated blunders undermine
Mrs. Hick's ambitious goals. As Nicole's self-destructive obsession
with Sarina worsens, Bitty Jack Carlson is caught in the crossfire.
A nice girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Bitty Jack fights
to prove that she can succeed outside the confines of this outrageous,
yeat eerily familiar southern community.
From summer camp to the University of Alabama's race for the homecoming
queen's throne, Southern stereotypes are challenged and wrestled
to the ground. It's survival of the fitest. But which girl will
come out on top? readers will be guessing until the bitter end in
this fast-paced and unforgettable first novel.