By Leah Greenblatt
Updated January 28, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST

In The Slide, after graduating from a pricey liberal arts college in Los Angeles, St. Louis native Potter Mays returns home to his pathologically doting parents, finds an appropriately mind-numbing summer job, and burns through countless philosophy-and weed-fueled hours at his best friend’s pool house — waiting, essentially, for his life to begin. Kyle Beachy has a knack for fantastic little nuggets ?of observation, but his characters — squat-necked dealers, Lolita-esque teens, ?alcoholic trophy wives — all speak in odd, hyperstylized paragraphs that too often suspend belief. Like his protagonist, ?the first-time author is brimming with potential; the next book out, he just may realize it. B