When we first meet Helen, the narrator of Cottrell's smart and offbeat debut novel, we're primed for a familiar grief narrative: Helen's adoptive brother has killed himself, and she speeds her way from New York to support her parents back in Milwaukee. But it's soon clear that all is not well with Helen either. She ping-pongs between scattered thoughts about her emotionally distant parents, and, once home, her efforts to investigate the suicide are not quite rational. (Her nickname at her job is Sister Reliability, but the idea that the nickname is ironic seems lost on her.) The co-winner of the 2017 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award
, Cottrell's novel rewires our thinking about unreliable narrators, expertly toying with our assumptions and encouraging us to consider Helen's antics not as comedy or mental illness but as a mourning process as complicated and messy as any other. A lyrical, poignant and fresh take on a familiar genre.