The Fates Will Find Their Way, By Hannah Pittard

Boy's own story about a missing girl

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Hannah Pittard's debut, about a 16-year-old schoolgirl who goes missing, was much likened to Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides when it first appeared. But, in its surmising of the girl's possible fate by the boys who knew her, it recalls more the work of Joyce Carol Oates, who has long been structuring her novels around a central absence.

While Pittard's boys fantasise about the missing Nora, they inevitably expose their own prejudices and mistakes, and emphasise the importance, and danger, of peer groups when you're young. Pittard's prose style is appropriately intimate and easy, but the darkness that hovers over a Carol Oates novel just isn't present here, meaning it has a curious lack of edge.