By Sarah Langan
Washington Square Press, 9781982144371, October 2021, 320pp.
The Short of It:
No good neighbors here. This is an example of how an entire neighborhood can fall prey to rumors, lies, and accusations if the right person makes it her mission to to see a neighborhood into ruin.
The Rest of It:
You might have a Maple Street in your neighborhood. That perfect cul de sac neighborhood, that borders a park, is home to many families and children, and yes, drama, lots of it.
One very hot summer, the maws of Maple Street literally open as a result of global warming and climate change. Their once idyllic neighborhood is now home to a very large sink hole. One that oozes noxious fumes and sludge that covers every surface, shoes, walls, car tires, carpets. You name it. The neighborhood kids, affectionately called The Rat Pack (sarcasm) congregate as best they can while the sink hole seems to have its own life. But when something happens to one of their own and the accusations start flying, the inhabitants of Maple Street begin to take sides and just short of a lynching, one family finds themselves as the target.
I found it interesting that the street in question is Maple Street. Do you remember that Twilight Zone episode where all the neighbors turn on each other? It was called The Monsters are Due on Maple Street and that same title applies here. Seemingly sane people become anything but that. Common sense goes out the window and the family at the top of their list struggles just to live in this hostile neighborhood.
At first, my book club didn’t think there would be much to discuss but we took the entire time discussing the book and how, although a bit ridiculous when it came to the sink hole, we all agreed that a neighborhood could easily turn if the right person was stoking the fire. Think of your neighborhood groups like Next Door. I cannot belong to these groups. Their constant chatter about a kid on the corner, or a car driving by more than once, gives me anxiety. But it just takes one person to stir up hysteria in a neighborhood.
This was not an enjoyable read. There is a lot of nastiness going on but it was suspenseful even though much of the plot points are given away at the top of each chapter via news articles. I had absolutely no problem flying through this one. I had to know how it all ended given how grim the story was.
Have you read it? It was a good book to discuss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.