“Wren” is an ongoing serialized novel by Ericka Clay (free on Wattpad) about a character from another novel (“White Smoke”). Wren is a dirt-poor hard-scrabble small-town high-school girl in some Arkansas backwater, up to her eyeballs in multiple disasters and surrounded by a wooly collection of losers. As they said in the Occupy days, “shit is all fucked up”. She uses, she deals, she gets in fights, her mom’s aborting her baby sister, her dad is dead, her boyfriend’s a cheating scumbag, and high school sucks. In the midst of all that, this girl crackles with life. Ericka writes a vivid character, so alive you can almost even hear the kid’s thoughts out loud. The story is well in line with a long tradition of “poor kid” novels, from Oliver Twist on down, and films like Boy and many others, and it has the contemporary touch of a Breaking Bad as well, so it’s familiar territory. Readers will know their way around, and the tricky parts are 1) avoiding the easy cliches and 2) giving the character her own distinctive perspective and voice. So far (three chapters in), Ericka’s “gittin’ ‘er done”. You might get hooked on Wren. I’d say give it a whirl.