Really liked this one! It's set in college, which is unusual for YA. It's been a while since I was in college, but it all rang very true to me--the way the first years clump together and form shallow friendships very quickly, the depressing and excessive drinking, boys peeing all over the place, stupid parties, the way some people are studying really hard and other people aren't at all and the two groups can hardly understand each other, the way hanging out with your friends is much more important than your classes. The way you are willing to toss your life down the toilet in a codependent frenzy to take care of seriously damaged people.
The main character, Allison Lee, who's literally been burned twice, falls in with a beautiful, fascinating, temperamental, mean girl named Shar. I liked how at the start of the book Allison is not super-excited about the fact that she's into girls, because it seemed very contemporary and realistic. Like, not some angsty 1950s "filled with shame and fear" kind of thing, just a touch of "eh, it's hard to get away from homophobia, internalized and otherwise, when you are seventeen." This is the kind of book where you are allowed right into the head of a tortured but funny character. Would love to read more of Tamaki's work. I also loved the textured book cover. I notice that Razorbill often has terrific covers.
Okay, criticism time. One weird thing: in the back cover copy it says, "Allison takes up residence in Dylan Hall (aka Dyke Hall) at St. Joseph's College. . ." I can't remember a single reference in the book to the dorm being called Dyke Hall. Am I really such a poor reader that I missed this? Or did it never happen, and if so, why is it on the back of the book? Surely there's a better way to indicate gay content than to write about random stuff that's not in the book? Also, a big unresolved thing is Shar's sister and the whole question of why Shar is the way she is. One character tries to wrap it up by saying that people are strange, and maybe Allison will never know. I get it, that's often true. But this is a novel, not real life, so it'd be nice to get some kind of hint at the least.