Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town
In this book, the impact of wildfire, a wayward priest, or a mysterious disappearance ricochet across communities, threading through stories. Here, ordinary actions such as ice skating or going to church reveal hidden truths. One choice threatens a lifelong friendship. Siblings save each other. Rescue and second chances are possible, and so is revenge.
On the surface, it seems that nothing ever happens in these towns. But Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock shows that underneath that surface, teenagers' lives blaze with fury, with secrets, and with love so strong it burns a path to the future.
My favorite stories were “Angry Starfish,” “Sea-Shaken Houses,” and “There’s Gas in the Tank, Louise!” “Angry Starfish” opens the collection with an angry girl who is upset that her father is seeing someone new and all the changes that come with that, like having to deal with the new woman’s young daughter. It starts the collection off with a huge punch of a voice that expertly captures how anger can grow and fester. “Sea-Shaken Houses” focuses on childhood friends growing up in a remote place and the unique bond that forms. It also highlights the fragileness of such a friendship when one person moves. “There’s Gas in the Tank, Louise!” is an abrupt shift from the rest of the collection, so the placement at the end was fitting. It takes a sharper, unexpected turn that concludes the book on a bittersweet note.
With such strong opening and closing stories, the middle stories fell a bit in comparison. There were also several times I wished I had a chart that explained how everyone connected and where we were in the timeline.
Between the compelling voice and wide range of emotions, EVERYONE DIES FAMOUS IN A SMALL TOWN is a short, engaging collection that proves there is more under the surface of small towns than meets the eye.