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A young woman, desperate to escape the unspoken secrets of her impoverished Midwestern family, bluffs her way into college, arriving at the prestigious "school by the lake" in Chicago where she meets Jess, charismatic and rich and needy, and the two quickly form an insular, competitive friendship. The narrator immerses herself in Jess's world, collecting her new friend's hand-me-downs, accompanying her to family dinners and frat parties. As guilt builds for the sister she has left behind, the narrator is drawn into Jess's apparently effortless existence, with a perfect Yuppie family living nearby, and a doting fiancee. Meanwhile the Tylenol Killer -- a local psychopath rumored to be stuffing cyanide into pills sold at the drugstore -- is at first just terrifying gossip on campus.

About the Author

Leslie Pietrzyk

I am the author of two novels, PEARS ON A WILLOW TREE and A YEAR AND A DAY. My collection of short stories, THIS ANGEL ON MY CHEST, was awarded the Drue Heinz Literature Prize and was published by University of Pittsburgh Press in October 2015. Stories and essays have appeared in many literary journals, including Shenandoah, The Sun, Gettysburg Review, and The Washington Post Magazine. If I'm not writing, what I love most to do is cook. ..which is probably apparent from my books and stories, which are filled with food. Fun facts: Once I won the blue ribbon for chocolate chip cookies at the Virginia State Fair. Check out my website for a recipe for the best Thanksgiving stuffing in the world! A guide for book clubs is posted on my website.

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