By Youyoung Lee
Updated October 01, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done, Ursula Hegi’s latest novel, would have made an excellent soap opera. After Annie’s parents die in a car crash the same day that she marries childhood sweetheart Mason, the newlyweds enlist playground friend Jake to raise Annie’s newborn sister together. This incestuous arrangement leads to further tragedy: Mason commits suicide in rebuttal against Annie’s straying affection. Hegi begins the novel during this grieving period, and relates the story in shifting viewpoints. What saves the proceedings from daytime sleaze is the intricacy of Hegi’s structure and her poetic writing (”clouds and blues in the sheer pearl-white of morning”). She warbles through raw emotion, reflection, and very grown-up wisdom. B