I've not idea what made me want this novel but I suspect it had something to do with a film I'd recently seen, The Bling Ring, which is a fictionalised account of a real series of events a few years years ago, when a group of Hollywood teenagers broke into a number of celebrity homes and stole millions of dollars worth of jewellery and clothes. Brilliant film, which deserves a post all to itself. But what, you may be thinking, has this to do with What Remains of Me. Well, in the 1980s sections of this two-time-frame novel, the main characters are also Hollywood teenagers, who behave at least equally badly.
In this 1980s segment, Kelly Lund is seventeen. Her parents are not rich - her mother a make-up artist, her father a partly disable stuntman - but Kelly goes to school at Hollywood High, where she is befriended by the glamorous, wealthy Bellamy Marshall, the daughter of a famous film actor, and through her meets Vee, a boy whose father is a well-known director. Unhappy at home and missing her twin sister, who died a few years earlier, Kelly gets swept into a world of celebrity parties and drug taking.
These segments of the story alternate with a narrative set in 2010. Kelly, now 47, is living with her husband Shane Marshall, the younger brother of her girlhood friend Bellamy. We learn that Kelly has served 25 years of a prison sentence for the murder of John McFadden, the father of her friend Vee. Shane and Kelly had married following a long correspondence while she was in prison, but the marriage is not happy and Kelly has a lover, a tattooed sculptor who lives nearby. But at the start of this part of the narrative, Kelly is under suspicion for the shooting of her father-in-law, though all the reader knows at this point is that Kelly did visit the Marshall's house on the night of his death.
Secrets abound, then - Kelly has plenty, but so do Bellamy, and Kelly's mother, who rejected her as a teenager and is now living in a curious, remote commune far from civilisation. Mystery surround the death of Katherine, Kelly's twin, and Kelly's dear friend Vee has vanished - in fact he has not been seen since the night of the 1980s party when his father was shot.
I found all this very fascinating and intriguing. There are lots of revelations and twists towards the end, and the Hollywood teenage world is well captured, as are the various celebrity shenanigans. I listened to it on Audible, enjoyed every minute, and was sorry to reach the end.