“May all your wishes come true, or at least just this one!”
(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for sexual assault.)
“Lennie, you do know what your uncles and I do for a living, right?”
I laugh more out of nervousness than anything else. “You sell moonshine and it’s illegal. And I know it was bad to take it to the party.”
Uncle Jet looks angry now, but thankfully his stare isn’t directed at me. He’s pointing a finger at Uncle Dune. “I thought you talked to her. What was it . . . three or four years ago? You drew the short straw and then a few days later said you and Lennie had a good talk.”
“I was gonna!” Uncle Dune roars. “But then you had to stick your nose in and tell her first!”
“I sure as shit didn’t!” Uncle Jet shoots back. “Who told ya I did?”
“Well, Lennie …” Uncle Dune’s voice trails off and once again the focus is on me. Worse, Uncle Dune is looking at me with a look reminiscent of Bambi after his mother got shot. “Lennie … you lied to me?”
I gulp. “A little lie. I thought you were trying to give me the sex talk.”
Michaela leaps, like her insane love for Todd is some kind of superpower, and lands with her body spread over Todd. Protecting him. Absorbing Zinkowski’s fall. Making sure that Zinkowski’s fingertips do not connect with Todd. That they find her instead.
Michaela shimmers and glows orange. That lasts only for an instant, and then all three of them disappear in a sudden and explosive burst of orange cheese.
Smith and I instinctively fall back, pulling our shirts up to cover our mouths and noses from the noxious smell.
I wish I was making that up. I wish I was making all of this up.
Tired of always playing it safe, Lennie Cash is determined to kick off her senior year with a bang. Armed with a case of her uncle’s infamous moonshine (“Hinkton Family Moonshine: Brewing It in Bathtubs and Selling It Out of the Living Room Since 1923″), Lennie plans to bribe her way into Michaela Gordon’s annual Labor Day party – and not only avoid an unceremonious bounce, but own that bad girl.
It’s what her best friend Dylan would have wanted. Dyl, who loved her no matter what everyone else said about her criminal father, her sketchy uncles, or her low social standing. Dyl, who seized life by the balls and refused to let go. Dyl, who – just like Lennie – yearned for escape. Dyl, whose dismembered remains were found stuffed in a suitcase last April. Dylan with the hot twin, who now blames Lennie for his sister’s death.
What Lennie doesn’t realize is that the Hinkton family moonshine isn’t just special – it’s downright magical. Her uncles Jet, Rod, and Dune have the power to grant wishes, and that’s what they’re really selling to the people who crowd their living room couch. As Lennie plays bartender for her classmates, making a show of repeating her uncles’ ritual, she unwittingly grants a whole slew of ill-conceived wishes, all of which will come true by sunup the next morning: Class predator W2 gets balls of steel. Little Seanie O’Hara is a little bit taller (and a baller), while emo Devon Stringer wakes up with a shiny new pair of bat wings. And (my personal favorite) stoner Zinkowski wishes for the Midas touch – but with Cheetos instead of gold. (CHEETOS ARE PEOPLE!)
Worst of all, someone wishes for the party to never end, so all these newborn freaks are trapped together in the chaos of Michaela’s mansion until Lennie can find a way to undo the chaos she caused. All while being pursued by her sociopath of a father – and stuck, hand-in-hand, with Dylan’s grieving brother Smith.
(More below the fold…)