The Wonder Bread Summer by Jessica Anya Blau

From the start, this novel is unconventional. It begins in the back room of a dress shop where twenty-year-old Allie Dodgson is being coerced into snorting cocaine and taking of her top as her boss, Jonas, masturbates. I warned you.

The year is 1983 and, to be fair, Allie does attempt to avoid the situation. But Jonas insists that he will only pay her if she complies with his requests. On the heels of a recent breakup that left both her heart and wallet empty, she relents. Finally, Jonas is satisfied and allows Allie to leave, but does not hold up his end of the bargain. Enraged and high, she leaves the shop with something Jonas is sure to miss . . . a Wonder Bread bag full of raw cocaine.

She arrives at the home of her friend, Beth, and immediately recognizes the error in her actions. She knows that the dress shop is really a front for a large drug operation and that Jonas will try to recover the cocaine by any means. She decides that she will sell enough of the coke to earn the money that Jonas owes her, and then return the excess. But this plan is not meant to be. Jonas knows Allie is in possession of his property and has sent one bad dude, Vice Versa, to retrieve it. Caught in a crazy situation, Allie must come to terms with her actions before her whole life comes crashing down. 

It is nearly impossible to summarize the entire book without ruining the fun story that Blau has crafted. An homage to the drug filled California of the early 1980's, this novel includes all of the small and large details that made the era so fascinating. Yes, this is definitely an adult novel, full of drug use, foul language, and sexual situation. Despite these elements, the story remains a constant example of a character driven, coming of age story, crossed with a Tarantinoesque crime thriller. The characters each are well thought out and have varying layers of depth that is rare in the usual summer reading fare. Overall, this is a fast paced summer read that offers strong story, characters and, most importantly, entertainment. 

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and GoodReads.  

(2013: week 34, book 32)

This entry was posted on Saturday, August 24, 2013 and is filed under ,,,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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