Hua Hsu spent 20 years writing this book as an homage to a friend, Ken, who was randomly murdered in a carjacking one night after a college party. The first half details their friends' lives in college at Berkeley in the 90s, and the sense of infinitute you feel when you're young. The second half is a completely arresting tribute to Ken and their friendship as Hsu struggles to process the grief of losing Ken, and the guilt of surviving without him. I can't put into words how good this is -- just read it for yourself and let Hsu tell you how much he loved Ken.
This is a wonderfully shameless story that I wish was around when I was in school. Period.
The characters are relatable and diverse, the social situations are true to life, and the use of social media formats to share facts from women's history is clever and well done. Schneemann opens up an important discussion here, in many shades of red, and I can't wait to see how her characters will continue to inspire change.