THE UNMISSABLE NEW NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF BESTSELLING PHENOMENON SUCH A FUN AGE
* THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER *
* FEARNE COTTON'S HAPPY PLACE BOOK CLUB PICK FOR FEBRUARY *
'I couldn't put it down, and I didn't want to either' EMILY HENRY
'The drama is just too juicy – how could anyone resist a binge?' GUARDIAN
'Razor-sharp … Packs a huge emotional punch' DAILY MAIL
Everything comes at a price. But not everything can be paid for…
Millie wants to graduate, get a job and buy a house. She's slowly saving up from her job on campus, but when a visiting professor offers her an unusual opportunity to make some extra money, she jumps at the chance.
Agatha is a writer, recovering from a break-up while researching attitudes towards weddings and money for her new book. She strikes gold when interviewing the girls in Millie's dorm, but her plans take a turn when she realises that the best material is unfolding behind closed doors.
As the two women form an unlikely relationship, they soon become embroiled in a world of roommate theatrics, vengeful pranks and illicit intrigue – and are forced to question just how much of themselves they are willing to trade to get what they want.
Sharp, intimate and provocative, Come and Get It takes a lens to our money-obsessed society in a tension-filled story about desire, consumption and bad behaviour.
'Smart, funny and perceptive' i
'A perfect read' STYLIST
'Wonderfully immersive, propulsive and beautifully paced' PAUL HARDING
'Quiet and intense … A joy to read' JESSICA GEORGE
'Witty and nuanced' RED
'[An] incisive novel everyone will be talking about' TOWN AND COUNTRY
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Kiley Reid, who captivated readers with her debut Such a Fun Age, delivers a terrific observational novel in Come and Get It. It follows three women who cross paths at the University of Arkansas: Agatha, a visiting professor; Millie, a broke dorm assistant; and first-year student Kennedy. When Millie lets Agatha eavesdrop in her dorm for research, Agatha relishes the students’ unfiltered conversations and secretly spins them into popular online articles. There’s a clear parallel between reading a book about Agatha and also eavesdropping alongside her, and Reid is exceptional at this subtle layering of story and reflection. The book is filled with ordinary moments that are rich with deep insight, often only apparent in retrospect. With seeming effortlessness, Reid reveals a deeper discussion about ethics, social class and race that is riveting and enjoyable.
Reid returns after her smash hit Such a Fun Age with a sardonic and no-holds-barred comedy of manners. When Agatha Paul, a white writer in her late 30s, arrives at the University of Arkansas as a visiting professor in 2017, she is separated from her wife, a Black dancer in Chicago, and intends to write a book about contemporary weddings. She switches topics, however, after interviewing a group of entitled young women who live in a dorm for scholarship students (one, named Jenna, who cashes in on a scholarship for Mexican Americans because her grandmother is Mexican, jokingly calls herself a "cute little refugee" and considers her work study salary "fun money"). The dorm's Black resident assistant Millie Cousins, who resents the others' shamelessness, agrees to let Agatha eavesdrop on them through a wall in exchange for $20 per session. There's also sensitive scholarship student Kennedy, who is so grotesquely spoiled by her mother that she must move into a single room to accommodate all her stuff. Overlaying the narrative of Agatha's clandestine project are backstories of the principal characters, which gradually reveal sources of their ongoing pain and push the story to an explosive climax. Reid is a keen observer—every page sparkles with sharp analysis of her characters. This blistering send-up of academia is interlaced with piercing moral clarity.
Author: African-American. Sophomore novel. (Her debut ‘Such A Fun Age’ was the best book I read in 2020)
Setting: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 2017
Plot: This is a character-driven novel. There’s precious little plot until three-quarters of the way through, and only marginally more after that. A student prank gets out of hand. The resident assistant (RA) in the dorm suffers consequences. The end.
Characters: The main protagonists are a black 24-year-old female undergrad who returns to U Ark as senior resident assistant (RA) in one of the dorms after taking time off from her studies, and a white late thirties lesbian visiting professor who enlists the RA in a hustle. Others include several young mainly white female undergrads better off financially than the RA thanks to the bank of Mom and Dad, and several RAs, both male and female.
Themes: The interplay of socio-economic status, race, gender and sexuality in an undergraduate dormitory. I presumed, when I first saw the title, that it was a reference to the Selena Gomez song. Having finished the book, I find it difficult to say.
Prose: Ms Reid writes well, and in more straightforward fashion than some of her fellow Iowa Writers Workshop alumni. However, the character portraits here, while detailed, had a YA feel to them that detracted from the message, in contrast to ‘Such A Fun Age’, which was pitch perfect IMO. As a non-American of great vintage, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the portrait of US undergrad dorm life, nor was I particularly interested.