This would seem to be a YA novel, but it is not. The narrator looks back on her teenage years, sometimes in fragments mixed with recollections of other periods in her later life, and tells of a tragedy that slowly unfolds -- in direct, explicit terms and sometimes with crude language. As if in deliberate contrast to this, the prose and storytelling are as beautiful and seemingly natural as the snow on the trees and lakes of the Minnesota backwoods setting. The narrative is sometimes (deliberately) confused, lost in a fog of memory, and the characters are enigmatic but drawn in detail, as is the religion that becomes the "villain" in the story. This is a haunting (and sometimes shockingly honest) "history".