Unsworth follows up her Betty Trask Award–winning debut, Hungry, the Stars and Everything, with a tale of female friendship. Wannabe novelist Laura focuses most of her energies on best friend Tyler, a let’s-party-until-we-drop sort with whom she consumes prodigious quantities of alcohol. With all their wild ways, there’s barely room for Jim, the classical pianist Laura plans to marry. (There’s an unlikely couple.) Jim has stopped drinking for the sake of his career and wants Laura to get a grip, but this is not a novel of one young woman’s finding the light. At the bittersweet end, Laura is true to herself. VERDICT Darkly hilarious, though it does sober up, this novel is a twentysomething cri de coeur that enlightens even as it exasperates.