Unlike typical coming-of-age novels, An Empty Room looks at youthful cynicism and narcissism seriously. Twenty-seven-year-old Talitha Stevenson does not patronize the emotional lives of her characters with glib humor, coy wit, or fanciful nostalgia. Inspired by her own experience of growing up too fast among families affected by divorce, Stevenson’s debut questions our perceptions of sexual intimacy as an endlessly renewable resource and asks if it is possible to simply use it up. Nineteen-year-old Emily lives a carefree life filled with swinging parties, plenty of drugs and alcohol, and sex with Tom, the seemingly perfect boyfriend. But when the luster of wild nights begins to fade, Emily is left jaded and directionless. Unwilling to accept the only futures she knows—whether it be the misery and jealousy of Tom's divorced parents or the hushed tensions that envelop her own parents' marriage—she begins a quest for a more genuine intimacy. The search leads her into a complex affair with the affable yet mysterious Simon, who is married. As their relationship approaches the breaking point, Emily is forced to make the same decisions regarding love, loyalty, and betrayal that are at the heart of the unraveling relationships of her parents and their friends.
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Published January 22, 2004
by Carroll & Graf.
Young Adult, Literature & Fiction.