Reviews: Whores on the Hill

What people said about Whores on the Hill:woth

BOSTON GLOBE
“(R)emarkable first novel…an honest, poignant, beautifully written story about teenage sex, from a young woman’s point of view…The book is raw and explicit, but it has a kind of sweetness, too, as the girls, innocent in so many ways, struggle toward adulthood. Curran’s writing is fresh and authentic, with a singular rhythm that perfectly suits her subject.”
–Diane White

LOS ANGELES TIMES
“Curran’s Catholic school girls join a coming-of-age genre that hasn’t seen such attention since the 1950s, when ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ and ‘A Separate Peace’ were published…Think ‘Lord of the Flies’ without the island…(T)he book is so racy it piques people’s curiosity about other links to real life.”
–Laura Shin

TEEN VOGUE
“When Thisbe transfers to Sacred Heart Holy Angels shortly after her parents’ divorce, she’s promptly adopted by two beautiful outcasts into what she calls a ‘teenage brand of family’ (even if everyone else just calls them the ‘whores on the hill’). Astrid has ‘hair to her waist like a mess of wheat’ and Juli ‘likes to scratch her arms with the sterilized end of a stick pin.’ All three trick out their uniforms with fishnets and combat boots and line their eyes with kohl; they pop pills with gusto and square off against football players they can’t possibly hope to conquer. Still, this is no cautionary tale, but rather a heartbreaking portrait of what life can be like when, as Thisbe says, ‘you’re fifteen and knobby-kneed and you only had a handful of choices. Your world was small and cruel and narrow-minded and breathtaking.’”
-LW

GLAMOUR
May Must-Read
“The ‘whores’ in this novel are a trio of schoolgirls gone wild. Curran’s gripping narrative is so vivid that it’ll bring back the anguish of being 16 and angry; you’ll feel relieved those days are long-gone.”
– Daryl Chen

HARTFORD COURANT
“Bitter, funny, wise and poignant, these risk-takers grow up the hard way and their toughness is only a cover-up for the pain of making the trip from girlhood to womanhood without fracturing their essential hearts of gold.”
-Carole Goldberg

NANCY PEARL
“I was one of those goody-two-shoes girls in high school. Probably the worst thing I ever did was borrow a book from the library where I worked without checking it out. That was the limit of my nerve. Quite quite different from Juli, Astrid, and the narrator, Thisbe, of Whores on the Hill (Vintage, 2005), Colleen Curran’s first novel, which is maybe why I liked it so much. This reckless trio doesn’t mind being referred to by other girls at their Milwaukee Catholic high school as the “the whores on the hill;” in fact, led by Astrid, they court their dicey reputation by wearing their skirts shorter than anyone else, picking up motorcycle riding drop-outs, and generally raising hell as only a rebellious 15-year-old girl can. Curran honestly and painfully lays it all out: first love, first betrayal by a best friend, and the inevitable tragic outcome of all that wildness. Here’s a sample of her writing, describing a scene following an ill-advised evening of joyriding on motorcycles with boys they’d barely met: ‘At home, even in bed with the covers pulled tight, it still felt like we were flying, Astrid, Juli, and Me, burning through our bare, balding town like a breath of wet fire. Our desire. We wanted the world. All of it, and now.’” Read more & listen to the program…
–Nancy Pearl, public radio librarian and author of Book Lust

NEW YORK POST
“It’s not easy being a teenager. And it’s apparently even harder being a teenage girl, according to this lyrical debut novel, wherein three 15-year-old girls make their way through the teenage wasteland of the 1980s…If this little trio met up with the bitchy “Plastics” from the film “Mean Girls,” they wouldn’t get mad – they’d just flip them the bird and then steal their boyfriends…Besides having the courage to deal with topics that would make Red Staters blush – abortion, pubescent sex, drug use and teenage suicide – the book will send you searching through your high school yearbook to recall those years of hormone-driven angst. “
–Joe Tirella

PLANET MAGAZINE
“A story of adolescent friendship and sexual awakening set in the 1980s, Whores on the Hill, belongs to a new crop of ‘chick lit’ for thinking women…By exposing a world of teenage despots/nymphs, she dives fully into the kind of angst and sexuality that’s…lacking in fiction about adolescents.”
– Lisa Selin Davis

GENRE MAGAZINE
“The punk-rock Catholic-school girls of Colleen Curran’s Whores on the Hill put Britney Spears’ pigtailed, slutty caricature to shame. Saddled with the novel’s titular nicknames by the popular crowd, Thisbe, Astrid and Juli band together to deal with everything from eyeliner to date rape. Curran captures the girls’ defiant, yet vulnerable, voices.”
—ML

KIRKUS REVIEWS
“Arresting first novel about a Milwaukee 15-year-old and her two best friends, the ‘sluts of Sacred Heart’… Curran adds punch to her story with occasional passages based on the format of teen magazine cover lines, like ‘first sexual experience by star sign’ or ‘first kiss.’ But what makes it sing are the lyrical descriptions of the intensity of those first times—including first betrayal by a best friend—and the aftermath of ‘remorse . . . grit and shame and a broken,nameless joy.’  Quick-moving, cleanly written: a promising start for Curran.”

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