One of the best books I read in 2020

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This is a stunningly beautiful book! I had somewhat high expectations going into it, based on reviews, but I didn't really expect this absolute cozy hug of a book that
somehow focuses on trauma and unpacks the ways in which people cope with harm, while also creating a nurturing, caring, comforting narrative space for the reader (and the main character). There are menacing elements and characters in this book, but the overall arc is one of mitigation, convalescence (in the best possible sense), and finding joy despite past harm. I suppose it's a slight spoiler to say that the book ends very well--with the main character in a truly safe space, but I think the reading experience is greatly improved if you know, going in, that this isn't some terrifying thriller or cult-preys-on-a-young girl plot. It's MUCH more nuanced and lovely than that. And the descriptions of northern California are so stunning--they make you feel like you're there. I can't get over how much this book achieves for such a short novel, and I can't wait to read all of Nina LaCour's other works. (Content warning for descriptions of child abuse.)