Not my ideal genre so it was hard for me to get into, but I could find the premise compelling. The narrator certainly helped.
"The Life" is interesting primarily because its protagonist Nora realistically captures the arrogance, ignorance, and rapid shifts from absolute decisiveness to panicked regret of teenage thinking. Nora demands change but cannot anticipate any consequence, takes hard-line positions that collapse almost instantly when she faces the prospect of humiliation, and insists on what is best for all people but bristles under anything but full personal autonomy. She regularly wonders if she is being stupid (almost always, yes) and keeps key information from people with shocking frequency even as the stakes grow higher.
There is a villain figure so villainous as to be a caricature (apparently the only person of such temperament in their society). There's a clever foil/ally who is made gender-ambiguous for no discernible reason except to introduce pronoun confusion (e.g. "looking back to see if they are following" might mean just this one person or all of those fleeing), and another friend who plays a minor role, plus a whole crop of supporting characters who don't matter at all despite lots of recurrent focus. But this is Nora's story. She sets the pace; she makes everything endlessly more complicated with her poor reasoning, bad judgment, and questionable revelations. Even at the very end, it all reduces to what Nora wants to be true, without any reason to think she is on the right track. If asked, she would doubtless reply as she does so often in the text, "...but I don't care."
I enjoyed this book up to a point. Early on, it's interesting. As the story progresses, it becomes more and more dependent on Nora's rapid shifts in values and her flat-out unwillingness to accept that there are consequences to actions, either for herself or others. The story indulges her by ensuring there never are, even at the very end. Nora just gets to do what she wants, secure in satisfaction that nothing ever really can go wrong because nothing ever does. That might be a very good immersion in the worldview of the passionate, confident, empowered teenagers of upper-middle income families. For the parents, or probably teens from less indulgent circumstances, I suspect it will fall flat.
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