From the beginning, Isabel cannot seem to get her act together. She is all over the place, including the road, where she almost runs over drifter Alicia. She feels horrible and takes Alicia in like a stray cat, introducing her to all of her friends and getting her a job at her own place of employment.
Before anyone gets settled, a series of arsons starts burning up the small seaside town. As the smoke clears, doubt starts to take over. Isabel starts to question her own instincts as Alicia ingratiates herself into her inner circle at work and with her closest friends and long-time crush, moving in physically and emotionally. Isabel’s self doubt is fed by her friends who turn the entire situation back onto her and blame her jealousy, which ignites her deeper insecurity. Then the police start suspecting Isabel and she seems totally alone and not completely stable. There are several engaging points in the narrative where it is truly unclear whose reality is the right one.
Every time it seems the pieces are falling into place, another wrench is thrown in the mix. The twists just keep coming and the story’s pace stays fast. Dounaeva’s strong and demonstrative writing draws the reader in, and by the end, has everyone sharing Isabel’s feelings of frustration, isolation and desperation. Aesthetically, she paints the town with a colorful pastel palette and the off-season calm and beauty are a sharp contrast to the rash of fire and destruction.
FRY is a psychological thriller with an endearing protagonist who takes everyone on a breakneck roller coaster ride through crime, uncertainty and the ashes of relationships that are not what they seem.
Reviewed by Kat Toland for IndieReader.