Released on 15 June 2017.

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Marlena

3.7 based on 7824 ratings & 1135 reviews on Goodreads.com

Synopsis

Marlena is a vivid portrayal of an intoxicating friendship and the dangers it leads to; perfect for fans of The Girls by Emma Cline and My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.

Everything about fifteen-year-old Cat's new town in rural Michigan is lonely and off-kilter, until she meets her neighbour, the manic, beautiful, pill-popping Marlena. Cat, inexperienced and desperate for connection, is quickly lured into Marlena's orbit by little more than an arched eyebrow and a shake of white-blonde hair. As the two girls turn the untamed landscape of their desolate small town into a kind of playground, Cat catalogues a litany of firsts - first drink, first cigarette, first kiss - while Marlena's habits harden and calcify. Within the year, Marlena is dead, drowned in six inches of icy water in the woods nearby. Now, decades later, when a ghost from that pivotal year surfaces unexpectedly, Cat must try to forgive herself and move on, even as the memory of Marlena keeps her tangled in the past.

Alive with an urgent, unshakeable tenderness, Julie Buntin's Marlena is an unforgettable look at the people who shape us beyond reason and the ways it might be possible to pull ourselves back from the brink.

In the media

Smart, sassy, sexy
Red
[A] vivid debut. . . .Buntin's prose is emotional and immediate, and the interior lives she draws of young women and obsessive best friends are Ferrante-esque
Booklist
Marlena felt urgent and alive. It's shocking and disturbing, but its depiction of an intense, obsessive friendship felt nuanced and heartbreakingly real.
Stylist