From Publishers Weekly
Packed with convincing detail and effortless description, Hood's tale of romance and loss mixes the venerable with the vulgar and brings the adult world into vibrant contact with adolescence. Thirty-seven-year-old Lower East Side milliner Olivia meets and marries the love of her life only to lose him, less than a year later, to a reckless teenager speeding around a blind corner. Weakened by grief and unable to make peace with her husband's killer, Olivia retreats to the couple's summer house, which is soon invaded by another teenager, this time a trespasser: the manipulative, precocious and pregnant title character. The relationship that develops between the two women?first wary, then needy, finally loving?is the substance of this rich and well-imagined story. With equal ease, Hood (The Properties of Water) describes Olivia dancing alone to a Louis Armstrong/Ella Fitzgerald duet in her St. Mark's Place hat shop, and Ruby, a smart, poor kid from Rhode Island who covets the sophistication and luxury she sees around her. Though Ruby sometimes seems older than her age, she is every inch a 15-year-old when she worries that her swelled stomach makes her look like John Candy and claims that she's had a sordid affair with her stylish French teacher. Hood writes with authority and humor, blending the moneyed scenery of great New England fiction with the sweet audacity of a paperback barn burner. Along the way, her observations about widows and divorcees, gestation and childbearing, fashion magazines and overcooked risotto make for disarming and ultimately affecting entertainment.