June 2022 Indie Next List
“A welcome return to a delightful character! Perrotta gives Tracy Flick the mic and allows her — and us — to reinterpret the events of Election. Deeply moving and incredibly funny, I never knew how much I needed this standalone sequel.”
— Shaun Manning, Booksweet, Ann Arbor, MI
From New York Times bestselling author Tom Perrotta, a pitch-perfect new satirical novel about ambition, coming-of-age in adulthood, and never really leaving high school politics behind—featuring his most iconic character of all time.
Tracy Flick is a hardworking assistant principal at a public high school in suburban New Jersey. Still ambitious but feeling a little stuck and underappreciated in midlife, Tracy gets a jolt of good news when the longtime principal, Jack Weede, abruptly announces his retirement, creating a rare opportunity for Tracy to ascend to the top job.
Energized by the prospect of her long-overdue promotion, Tracy throws herself into her work with renewed zeal, determined to prove her worth to the students, faculty, and School Board, while also managing her personal life—a ten-year-old daughter, a needy doctor boyfriend, and a burgeoning meditation practice. But nothing ever comes easily to Tracy Flick, no matter how diligent or qualified she happens to be.
Among her many other responsibilities, Tracy is enlisted to serve on the Selection Committee for the brand-new Green Meadow High School Hall of Fame. Her male colleagues’ determination to honor Vito Falcone—a star quarterback of dubious character who had a brief, undistinguished career in the NFL—triggers bad memories for Tracy, and leads her to troubling reflections about the trajectory of her own life and the forces that have left her feeling thwarted and disappointed, unable to fulfill her true potential.
As she broods on the past, Tracy becomes aware of storm clouds brewing in the present. Is she really a shoo-in for the Principal job? Is the Superintendent plotting against her? Why is the School Board President’s wife trying so hard to be her friend? And why can’t she ever get what she deserves?
In classic Perrotta style, Tracy Flick Can’t Win is a sharp, darkly comic, and pitch-perfect reflection on our current moment. Flick fans and newcomers alike will love this compelling novel chronicling the second act of one of the most memorable characters of our time.
About the Author
Tom Perrotta is the bestselling author of ten works of fiction, including Election and Little Children, both of which were made into critically acclaimed movies, and The Leftovers and Mrs. Fletcher, which were both adapted into HBO series. He lives outside Boston.
“Engrossing and mordantly funny."—People
"Even more piercing than its predecessor... With a lyric, polyphonic intensity, [Perrotta] poses a question to the class: What have we learned?”—The New York Times
"The verdict is in on Tracy Flick: we did her wrong."—The New Yorker
"Cleverly designed.... Perrotta has reclaimed the name Tracy Flick from the bucket of misogynist punchlines.”—Washington Post
"Perrotta catches up with Tracy as an adult, rescuing her from the fate of being used as an easy symbol of, well, anything. She’s much too complex for that."—Time
"Brilliant, biting satire... so lean and taut it almost reads like a screenplay."—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"[Tracy Flick is] a richly rounded character enduring a quintessential modern American struggle.”—Boston Globe
“Told with Perrotta’s piercing wit, wisdom, and exquisite insight into human folly, Tracy’s second act delivers acerbic insight about frustrated ambition.”—Esquire
"If you ever wondered what became of overachiever Tracy Flick... now you can find out in Tracy Flick Can’t Win."—Elle
"Perrotta [is] a specialist in suburban malaise.”—Slate
"Perrotta brings his trademark dark humor and insights into suburbia to the story, along with some sweet observations about friendship."—Real Simple
"Perrotta has what it takes to revisit the past without being predictable.”—The Atlantic
“Short chapters from many perspectives [will] keep readers alternately laughing and gasping.”—Los Angeles Times
"Humorous yet humane... prescient, darkly comical.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Perrotta’s great gift is that he lets his love for his characters, flaws and all, shine through. . . . I was rooting hard for Tracy Flick to, finally, win.” —Seattle Times
"Sharp and perfectly executed…This is the rare sequel that lives up to the original.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Smart, entertaining... The breeziness of the pacing provides tart counterpoint to weightier themes... which Perrotta handles with a deft but determined satiric touch.”—Booklist
“The plot unfolds with the you-are-there feel of a documentary, or mockumentary perhaps ... Nobody told this master of dark comedy there are things you can’t make jokes about. Watch him try.”—Kirkus