FINANCIAL FORAYS Alger's debut, set against the backdrop of New York City, provides a swift-moving drama centered on an upper-class family's financial woes

The Darlings

Forget Gossip Girl: If you really want a peek into the scandalous lives of New York City’s elite upper class, Alger’s debut novel — set during the financial downturn of 2008 — gets you pretty close. The hedge funds, designer clothes, and lush Hamptons homes are all on display. But Alger also deftly juggles a complicated and myriad cast of characters who orbit around an It Family, the Darlings, who are at the center of a Madoff-like Ponzi scheme. The Darlings moves so fast that it feels more like a thriller than a social drama. B+