I liked Reeves’ first novel Bleeding Violet so much that I ordered her second in advance of its publication date. And then I didn’t read it until now thanks to a quandary familiar to me: I didn’t want the new book to be the same as the one I just read, but I wanted to be surprised by it in a similar way.
It turns out I’m surprised by Slice of Cherry in all kinds of different (good) ways. It’s mostly about the the adolescent struggle to define oneself as an individual. As the “cherry” in the title implies, some of what makes this hard is coping with emerging sexuality. The “slice” refers partly to a challenge unique to Kit and Fancy Cordelle: they’re the daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer. And they live in Portero, a very strange town with its own special difficulties. Slice of Cherry is also about adversity, and how communities, families, and individuals choose to cope with it. Reeves has a novel, supernatural twist on the device of having the sisters’ external environment mirror their emotional turmoil, and that presents its own obstacles for them to overcome.
Like the previous novel, it gripped me, startled me, kept me up late (and inspired some weirdass dreams). It also tested the bounds of my sympathy for its protagonists a bit. It’s more ambitious than Bleeding Violet, and maybe less completely successful. Reeves is very adept at scenes of hallucinatory Wonderland-gone-wrong horror, but the profusion of them blunted their impact on me a little bit.
But on the whole, this leaves me impatient for Reeves’ next book. I’d recommended it to anyone not put-off by a Heathers level of darkness/bodycount.