A feminist fable in a world where the future is literally inscribed on young girls and women's bodies. But far from making them powerful, it makes them vulnerable to the lust and greed of men. A wonderful description of the pain and wonders of puberty, a powerful indictment of rape culture, and a poignant demonstration of the complexity of siblings’ relationships, this book is all that and more. Laura Maylene Walter has a magical imagination, and her novel will enthrall young adults and older generations alike.
A group of Smith graduates goes to war. They all have their own personalities and quirks. They are volunteering to bring help to villages devastated by war. The novel deftly uses its historical background (a Smith Unit did go to France towards the end of WW1) to talk about a key moment when women started to take ownership of their own lives, they went to medical school, they drove trucks, they organized rescue operations and still found time to sort out complicated matters of friendship, love and self-respect. A perfect novel for Women History Month.
Will the Smash-Up be read very soon as historical fiction? The novel takes place during the Kavanaugh confirmation, which serves as backdrop for the unraveling of a marriage laminated by the culture wars of those years and the financial collapse of the middle class. Zo and Ethan are the couple unraveling, Maddy is the twenty-something jaded, no-future babysitter and Alex is the funny, smart daughter who cannot fit in her progressive private school because of her ADHD. The characters are somewhat two-dimensional… until they are not, and the novel is so brilliantly constructed that when you get to the surprising end, you’re bound to think you need to read it again, more slowly this time.