The author of the “sparkling dark romance” (Redbook) We Could Be Beautiful brings her “wit and verve” (The New York Times Book Review) to this quirky, feel-good novel about one woman’s messy journey from self-delusion to self-acceptance.
At thirty-seven, Stevie Green has had it with binge drinking and sleeping with strange men. She’s confused about her sexuality and her purpose in life. When her mother asks her to return to her hometown of La Jolla to help her move into a new house, she’s desperate enough to say yes. The move goes so well that Stevie decides to start her own decluttering business. She stops drinking. She hires her formerly estranged sister, Bonnie, to be her business partner. She rekindles a romance with her high school sweetheart, Brad. Things are better than ever—except for the complicated past that Stevie can’t seem to outrun.
Who was responsible for the high school scandal that caused her life to take a nosedive twenty years earlier? Why is she so secretive about the circumstances of her father’s death? Why are her feelings for her ex-friend, Chris, so mystifying? If she’s done drinking, then why can’t she seem to declutter the mini wine bottles from her car?
A winsome, fast-paced read, Getting Clean With Stevie Green is about coming to terms with who you are, resolving the pain of your past, and accepting the truth of your life in all its messy glory.
Huntley (We Could Be Beautiful) shines in this story of a woman returning home to get her life together. Once a golden girl in high school set for Stanford, Stevie Green was derailed during her run for class president by a malicious prank, which set her on a self-destructive and nomadic path, first to New York City, where she worked as a bartender and drank heavily, then San Francisco. Now, at 37, Stevie's mother, Kit, asks her to return to affluent La Jolla, Calif., to help her straighten up Kit's house. The chore gives Stevie a newfound mission: to be the town's #1 organizer, helping rich housewives and others pare down closets and garages bulging with possessions, and she starts her own business. She also reckons with her romantic feelings for a female friend, Chris, who she thinks betrayed her back in high school. When the truth comes out, it's an unexpected bombshell. Most of this comes from Stevie's point of view, which is heavy on the snark (visiting a new client, Stevie notes that if the man's house "were a hipster brand of lipstick, it would have been called Single Man's Junkyard"), though Huntley adds dimension with passages from Kit, as well as Stevie's chill, "Insta-famous" younger sister. This smart and expertly plotted tale captivates. Agent: Liz Parker, Verve Talent & Literary.