If Danielle Evans had a thesis in mind when she penned the eight stories in Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, then it must have been this: All relationships come with an expiration date. And while the most obvious ending is death, loss of life is not a major theme. Instead, the relationships between parents and children, friends and our individual relationships to things like equality, obligation, dependency and absence are ended or morphed into something unrecognizable by maturity and understanding.

Evans has a special gift for honing in on those moments of transition in life when we learn things about the way the world really works, sometimes before we’re able to understand those truths completely. Nowhere is that more evident than in “Snakes,” the story of a mulatto young woman reflecting back on a disastrous summer spent with her white grandmother. Race, just like privilege, is not the root of the story, merely the catalyst.

In “Robert E. Lee is Dead,” we see the decay of a friendship between two girls from different worlds – one with a future and one without. “Virgins,” Evans’ debut story about two young girls spending a night on the town, is merely the tip of the iceberg of this coming-of-age collection.

Grade: A-

Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self is currently available.