“ The voice, the best thing in the novel…comes at the reader in an appealing tumble-rush and hypnotic fashion.” — Booklist
"Part punk zine, part battle cry, this debut wields teen angst and riot grrrl rage like a spiked dog collar or a fist." — Kirkus Reviews
“An electric novel.” — Publishers Weekly
“This book serves as a reminder that teen girls are strong, brave, complex, and vitally important.” — The Rumpus
“A deeply personal mythology interwoven with the fibers of LA, simultaneously shaped by and shaping our city, Nikki Darling’s Fade Into You is a poetic portrait of a young girl’s life in the Angeleno multiverse.” —Alice Bag, author of Violence Girl
“Nikki Darling hypnotizes with poetry and slang, the edgy mystery of teen friendships, unavailable parents, the uselessness of education, and crucial importance of gossip. She shows us the real world through the eyes of a girl on the cusp of sinking or swimming. Beautiful.” —Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir
“Nikki Darling captures the layers of being and not being in one of the great world cities, Los Angeles, but moreover of the San Gabriel Valley. Darling understands the sterile streets tinged with deadly angst, the disarming city that hits you between the eyes, the way voices and beats stream out of yawning windows and rolled-down car windows. She sings and shouts from an LA no Hollywood can touch.” —Luis J. Rodriguez, author of Always Running
“A glorious illumination of the dark corners of teen trouble, Fade Into You tangles Chicano cultural inheritance, nascent punk self-discovery, and kid truth in a stoned haze. Darling’s vivid prose is transporting.” —Jessica Hopper, author of The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic
“Nikki Darling and I are in love with the same girl, California, and Nikki has written a love letter to her in the form of a hella vernacular novel of which I’m envious AF. Reading Fade Into You is like tasting an orange grown in this magical place: you can savor the SoCal sun on every page, and this sun tastes tangier, dirtier, and more glamorous than it does anywhere else on this weird, stupid earth. Taste it and get that Vitamin C.” —Myriam Gurba, author of Mean
“Feeling something like a gloriously stitched-together punk zine, with poetry pasted on its jagged collage edges.” — Brit + Co
A once-ambitious teenage girl searches for her place in Los Angeles after enduring neglect and family tragedy.
Nikki Darling cuts class at the LA County High School for the Arts to drive around suburban Los Angeles in beater cars with her friends, smoking joints and listening to post-punk and riot grrrl bands. She's a "brooding musical theater gal," struggling with depression and loneliness behind a screen of tough talk and withdrawn behavior. But when a beautiful and mysterious student named Claire Chang is taken out of school after a supposed suicide attempt, Nikki grows worse, avoiding homework and stifling her aspiration to act. Instead, she pals around with a cast of endearing misfits who specialize in talking smack without saying anything at all. There's Chelo, a loudmouthed stoner with red hair and thrift-store duds; Mike, a queer kid forced to sleep in his parents' garage; and Dan, an immature ladies' man who catches Nikki's eye. Grown-ups are inscrutable or unhelpful, from Ms. Lavoi, the English teacher who encourages Nikki to read Plath, to Nikki's mom, who works too late and is away too often to help her youngest daughter heal. In her nostalgic and gritty debut, Darling mashes up autofiction and slam poetry to explore the borderland between teenagers and adults, between family and heritage. Nikki is, after all, "not just...half-Mexican, but the wrong kind of Mexican." Not everything Darling experiments with here works. At times, the poetic vignettes feel out of place, disconnected from both the narrative and the narrative voice. And when we finally learn the root of Nikki's depression, it's hard to understand why a simple plot point would have been kept from us for so long. Even so, Darling's story is poignant, and she conjures 1990s Los Angeles in all its grim and shimmering glory.
Part punk zine, part battle cry, this debut wields teen angst and riot grrrl rage like a spiked dog collar or a fist.