Synopses & Reviews
A bighearted dystopian novel about the corrosive effects of fear and the redemptive power of love.
With soaring literary prose and the tense pacing of a thriller, the first-time novelist Peyton Marshall imagines a grim and startling future. At the end of the twenty-first century — in a transformed America — the sons of convicted felons are tested for a set of genetic markers. Boys who test positive become compulsory wards of the state — removed from their homes and raised on "Goodhouse" campuses, where they learn to reform their darkest thoughts and impulses. Goodhouse is a savage place — part prison, part boarding school — and now a radical religious group, the Holy Redeemers Church of Purity, is intent on destroying each campus and purifying every child with fire. We see all this through the eyes of James, a transfer student who watched as the radicals set fire to his old Goodhouse and killed nearly everyone he'd ever known. In addition to adjusting to a new campus with new rules, James now has to contend with Bethany, a brilliant, medically fragile girl who wants to save him, and with her father, the schools sinister director of medical studies. Soon, however, James realizes that the biggest threat might already be there, inside the fortified walls of Goodhouse itself. Partly based on the true story of the nineteenth-century Preston School of Industry, Goodhouse explores questions of identity and free will — and what it means to test the limits of human endurance.
"Political and thought-provoking, Goodhouse is above all else an adventure, a page-turning account of one boy's journey through a vivid and dangerous world. A remarkable start from a remarkable writer." Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
"A smart, literate thriller set in a foreseeable future where genetic profiling is meant to prevent crime but becomes — instead — a terrifying tool for oppression, discrimination, and violence. It's a ripping good read." Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love
"With this gripping debut, Peyton Marshall gives us a page-turner of the highest order, one driven by characters so charged and compelling that their urgency becomes our own. Goodhouse is as thrilling as it is thought-provoking, as tough as it is tender, and it will roar upon you with all the consuming power and furious beauty of a conflagration." Josh Weil, author of The Great Glass Sea
"Like the best science fiction, Goodhouse transcends genre, posing uncomfortable questions that feel depressingly urgent. This is a powerful, lyrical meditation on chance, freedom, and what it means to be alive. Peyton Marshall can do it all." Daniel Alarcón, author of At Night We Walk in Circles
About the Author
Peyton Marshall is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Tin House, A Public Space, Blackbird, Etiqueta Negra, FiveChapters, and Best New American Voices 2004. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Goodhouse is her first novel.