2003 1st edition; Crown Publishers, New York; hardbound in black ebony boards with silver lettering along spine; very good condition of book with unmarked pages; dust jacket good.
Two sisters grow up on their own in Oakland in the 1980s in this rich, idiosyncratic, impressionistic first novel. Smart, stubborn Paige and her silent little sister, Pinch, enjoy an idyllic if lopsided childhood as children of a single mother, with visits to the library, ballet lessons and Black Panther day care. But when Paige is 14 and Pinch is 12, their mother's boyfriend attacks Paige in public, and Paige persuades their mother to rent the girls their own apartment.
Making house for each other, they begin to attract a circle of friends: Maynard, Donnell and LaNell, Teeara, Oscar. Through high school it is all (or mostly) innocent, just microwave dinners together and trips to Mexicali Rose for burritos. Then the boys begin to have more money—too much money. Paige's best friend, Maynard, marries an uptown girl named Jess and has a baby; Paige drops out of college and starts dating Oscar. Oscar and Maynard begin dealing drugs; then Jess is shot and killed, and Paige thinks she knows who's responsible.
Fiercely independent and sharp as she has always seemed, she begins to lose her bearings...