A gun is pointed at 21-year-old Ellis as she walks through a New York park. Although she escapes unharmed she is left psychologically reeling. Over the next few weeks Ellis keeps everyone at bay- the police, suitors who want to save her, and the university therapist who hints that her sweaters are too tight. But when Ellis accompanies her mother, a nurse, on a mission in the Philippines, she finds the life - even if held up - cannot be held back, and neither, finally, can she.
Vendela Vida has worked at the Paris Review and the New York Review of Books. She is the author of the non-fiction book Girls on the Verge. She and Dave Eggers have recently opened a writing lab for teenagers in San Francisco.