Perrotta’s 8th novel reintroduces us to the eternally ambitious main character from his 1998 novel Election. Tracy Flick is now an assistant principal who’s dying for a promotion. Obstacles stand in her way, but if there’s one thing we know about Tracy, she doesn’t quit.
The hallmarks of Perrotta’s best novels are all here: sympathetic everyman characters, sharp snapshots of suburbia, and a lingering feel that things aren’t quite right but that at least people are doing the best they can. The ending feels forced—a ripped-from-the-headlines development shoehorned into a story that’s about something else—but no one does middle-class American culture better than Perrotta. The book, like Tracy, is a winner. Reviewed on Sept. 22, 2022