"I want to be awful. I want to do awful things and why not?" So says the young heroine of Mathilda Savitch, Victor Lodato's fierce and funny debut novel. Mathilda's idolized sister died beneath the wheels of a train, their parents are swallowed by grief, and Mathilda is pulling out her hair in anger. What makes this coming-of-age story so compelling is the tough, furtively loving voice of its narrator, who keeps her friends at arm's length even as she holds them in her heart.