A number of events have led up to the Billy Kinsey we first meet. Billy might have called those events fate. His father wins the lottery. He invests well. The family moves to an affluent community. His parents fight it off but eventually conform to the behaviors of what is expected of the wealthy. His sister Dorie gets sick. She dies. Billy is forever changed. Billy has sworn off relationships and of course, that is when two others enter his life and again, alter its course.
There are so many wonderful layers to this unique, coming-of-age novel. It is packed with themes and life lessons’ and,of course, teenage angst.
I recommend this for high school libraries to give to those students who enjoy realistic fiction that is gritty and honest.
‘Less Than Zero meets Catcher in the Rye in this biting bildungsroman. Written in an insightful, frenetic tone that occasionally turns surreal. Exhilarating and indicting. (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
Metcalfe snares readers’ attention with rich, fantastic characters…A wonderful read that is hard to put down, The Tragic Age will continue to haunt readers long after the last page has been turned. (Voya)
Metcalfe’s taut prose and unique narrative choices mark him as a writer to watch. (Booklist)
Billy makes for a mordant, smart, and angry protagonist…debut author Metcalfe, a screenwriter and playwright, amps up the melodrama with a car chase, a shooting, and a Grand Guignol ending that dooms some while reawakening Billy. (Publishers Weekly)