Mathilda Savitch
By Victor Lodato
304 pages; FSG

"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.

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