Synopses & Reviews
is the haunting and tender story of Chrissie Swanson, a paranoid high school senior for whom graduating has become a matter of life or death. She's an unusual girl in an ordinary town. Her mother's sex life is overshadowing her own; her brother is aboard his own private Enterprise, slipping into one black hole after another; her best friend is hornier than a Prince song; leaving her eccentric grandmother as the only source of wisdom in a rapid downward spiral. As Chrissie tries to take control of the events that shape her life, she finds the events beginning to take control of her, until she is finally cornered by choices with everlasting consequences.
Full of humor, wit, and the sacrilegious worldview of a savvy teenager, Downers Grove paints a searing portrait of the American dream in all its broken glory.
"Hornburg's prose is rife with adolescent jokes and lingo, some of it hilarious and sharp. At other times the humor wears thin....Yet Chrissie's relentlessly vernacular teenage voice takes up residence in the reader's mind, establishing her vulnerability and demonstrating the courage she shows on her stressful road to maturity." Publishers Weekly
"This book has an authentic voice. Hornburg does a beautiful job of entering into the mind of a teenage girl who is struggling to just make it through each day." KLIATT
"The spirit of Holden Caulfield is alive and living in Downers Grove. Chrissie Swanson is the picture of Salinger-style disaffected youth, chafing at the limitations of her dead-end hometown. Chrissie's voice effectively combines world-weary teenage impertinence with eloquent vulnerability." The Baltimore Sun
"Highly polished, smoothly written....[A] nearly faultless ear and delightful authorial voice." Kirkus Reviews
"[An] electrifying portrayal of adolescent angst." Booklist
Chrissie Swanson is a paranoid high school senior for whom graduating has become a matter of life and death. As Chrissie tries to take control of the events that shape her life, she finds the events control her.