Synopses & Reviews
Remember that girl? The one who was impossibly cool, who taught you how to blow smoke rings, cut school, sneak out of the house? Remember how you turned yourself inside out trying to be just like her—and then she broke your heart?
Set in the long, hot summer of 1973, Paula McLains lyrical debut novel explores what happens when an insecure, motherless teenager falls under the dangerous spell of "that girl"—her older cousin Fawn. Fawns worldly ways are mesmerizing to Jamie, who submits to a makeover—both inside and out—to win Fawns approval. But over the course of a summer wrecked with tragedy and loss, Jamie learns that Fawn will use anything and anyone to further her own motives. When a local girl goes missing, Jamie realizes how dangerous Fawn truly is, and recognizes, too late, her own complicity in the disaster that unfolds around them.
Paula McLains poignant debut is a compelling family portrait that explores the darker sides of love and loyalty.
"The summer of 1973 in Moline, Ill., is enlivened and permanently marked for 15-year-old Jamie by the arrival of her charismatic, seen-it-all cousin, Fawn Delacorte, in McLain's sure-handed if familiar debut novel (after the memoir Like Family). Abandoned by her parents as a baby, Jamie is a lonely, nave teenager from Bakersfield, Calif., sent to live with her uncle Raymond after her grandmother falls sick. She falls under Dawn's spell and embraces the dissolute life of layabout teenagers, brushing ever closer to the inevitable tragedy to come. McLain alternates her vivid first-person account of Jamie's initially glorious summer with Raymond's recollections of his fraught relationship with Suzette, his younger sister and Jamie's mother. The echoes between past and present, Jamie and Suzette, and between Suzette and Fawn ring ever louder as the novel progresses, and protectors clash with those they vainly try to protect. McLain has a good ear for the dialogue of hormonally crazed, unpredictable teenagers. But 1970s childhoods are well-trod literary territory, and it feels as if this tale has already been told." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
McLains debut novel, set in the summer of 1973, tells the story of an insecure and motherless teenager who falls under the dangerous spell of her older cousin.
About the Author
Paula McLain received an MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan, and has been a resident of Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. She is the author of two collections of poetry and a memoir, and lives in Cleveland with her family.