by Giolito, Malin Persson; Willson-Broyles, Rachel (TRN)

Maja Norberg, a wealthy Swedish prep school student, describes her trial for her involvement in a mass murder that killed her boyfriend and her best friend, detailing her life and the circumstances surrounding the event.

Malin Persson Giolito was born in Stockholm in 1969, and grew up in Djursholm, Sweden. She holds a degree in law from Uppsala University and has worked as a lawyer for the biggest law firm in the Nordic region and as an official for the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. She is now a full-time writer and has written four novels including Quicksand, her English debut. Persson Giolito lives with her husband and three daughters in Brussels.

*Starred Review* Giolito's astonishing English-language debut (she has published three other books in her native Sweden) is a dark exploration of the crumbling European social order and the psyches of rich Swedish teens. It alternates between courtroom and jailhouse scenes and life before a school shooting, telling the first-person story of Maja, a rich-girl-accused-shooter who is perfectly portrayed as obsessed with the actions of others and simultaneously jaded beyond belief by them. Maja is said to have shot classmates in a pact with her boyfriend, and the broad details of the crime aren't in dispute; rather the trial hinges on what exactly happened and why. In crafting a first-person narrative told by a school shooter, many authors would go too far, creating an overly likable character; Giolito masterfully walks this fine line, developing a protagonist whom readers will remain intrigued by and ambivalent about, but whom they won't necessarily like. Giolito's past as a lawyer and as a European Union official poke through the pages as she exposes the cutting racism that refugees in Europe endure, even in supposed left-wing-idyll Sweden. Praise must also go to translator Willson-Broyles, as the incisive language that's on display here surely involves translation precision that's second to none. Copyright 2016 Booklist Reviews.

Sharp social commentary through the tragic story of a young woman's trial for mass murder.Swedish novelist Giolito begins her English-language debut with a powerful view of a crime scene. To the narrator, 18-year-old Maja, her fellow classmates are still in the present tense, the horror not yet real. As she tells her tale we understand that she is at the center of a school shooting perpetrated by her boyfriend, Sebastian Fagerman, and the question is whether she is complicit. Both teenagers come from privileged backgrounds, she from a loving home she has no patience for, and he the son of "the richest man in Sweden," who verbally abuses him. Giolito keeps the narrative moving quickly, alternating between the present tense of Maja's jail cell and the courtroom and her memories of parties and travels with her jet-setting boyfriend, though as Maja says, "there are no chapters in this mess." That mess takes in the uneasy place of race in modern-day Sweden and the voracious press that amplifies the details of everything in Maja's young life. There is no suspense in the shooting of Amanda, Maja's best friend, or of Sebastian. She did it and admits to it. The literary anticipation here is in the telling of the tale, the facts that turn the story to something else, and yes, the verdict. The rhythm, tone, and language are just right, due in great part to the fine translation by Willson-Broyles. Giolito gives us the unsettling monologue of a teenage girl as she works her way through her role in murder. It is a splendid work of fiction. Copyright Kirkus 2016 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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