Assadi writes poetically about the Southwest ― the spacious, moneyed homes, the high school football stadium that looms over her hometown ... But the fast-developing landscape is also thick with an air of threatening mysteryAssadi sometimes relies too heavily on the book’s seductive subject matter in the story’s second half, quickly relating scenes from parties and fights and drug trips, as though the meaning and feeling behind these experiences were self-evident. Still, when she returns to the desert, her story about a heartbreaking friendship once again becomes sorrowful and singular, a mesmerizing take on tripping blindly into adulthood.
...[a] wise and poetic debut ... Glimpses of the otherworldly abound, alongside an abiding interest in the cosmos, and Assadi’s lyrical prose nicely complements these preoccupations with the unreal or the ungraspable. The structure, moving back and forth in time and space, adds a sense of the magical to a sometimes tragic but always beautiful coming-of-age story.
Assadi’s first novel is—like Ahlam’s dreams—fevered, fragmented, and impressionistic. Its language is lushly poetic—leaves make 'a shivery melody'—but occasionally strained. Though the novel takes itself very seriously, it will interest those looking for a stylish read.