In this book, Tao Lin presents a tale of illicit love. Richard Yates is named after real-life writer Richard Yates, but it has nothing to do with him. Instead, it tracks the rise and fall of an illicit affair between a very young writer and his even younger - in fact, under-aged - lover. As he seeks to balance work and love, she becomes more and more self-destructive in a play for his undivided attention. His guilt and anger builds in response until they find themselves hurtling out of control and afraid to let go.