Silver Girl

Leslie Pietrzyk

A young woman, desperate to escape the unspoken secrets of her impoverished Midwestern family, bluffs her way into college, arriving at the prestigious “school by the lake” in Chicago where she meets Jess, charismatic and rich and needy, and the two quickly form an insular, competitive friendship.

The narrator immerses herself in Jess’s world, collecting her new friend's hand-me-downs, accompanying her to family dinners and frat parties. As guilt builds for the sister she has left behind, the narrator is drawn into Jess’s apparently effortless existence, with a perfect Yuppie family living nearby, and a doting fiancée. 

Meanwhile the Tylenol Killer — a local psychopath rumored to be stuffing cyanide into pills sold at the drugstore — is at first just terrifying gossip on campus. But the death of one of his victims triggers a surprising chain of events with major repercussions for the lives of both young women. Suddenly the lifestyle the narrator has come to share with Jess vanishes. As her attempts to restore order and control become increasingly desperate, their fragile friendship is exposed; and both young women must confront the realities of an adulthood neither one expected. 

Silver Girl is an intimate coming-of-age account of the nuances of female friendship, of obsession and longing, greed and desire. Leslie Pietrzyck delves into the ways class and money dictate one’s sense of self, and how relationships ultimately define who we become.

Cover art by Jennis Li Cheng Tien


Praise for Silver Girl

"SILVER GIRL is a blunt and piercing character study of a young woman making choices that are both understandable and unthinkably wrong; we watch helplessly as our unnamed narrator digs herself in deeper and deeper, sabotaging nearly every relationship in her life. Pietrzyk writes insightfully about female friendship, personal morality and accountability, unspooling an eminently compelling plot and delivering us, finally, to a redeeming moment of grace. "
Carolyn Parkhurst , author of THE DOGS OF BABEL

"The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Leslie and her stories is the courage and ferocity of her women. Women who must negotiate a culture not of their own design and not of their own choosing. Women who have experienced tragedy and misfortune. Women who have made mistakes. Women who are honest in their testimony, resourceful in their lives, daring, not shy. "
Robert Olmstead, author of FAR BRIGHT STAR