Make sure you read all the way to the end of this post, ok? There are a few things that might be of interest to you down at the end. I'd say more, but what I really want to do is talk about this month's FABPick, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, by the FABulous Joshilyn Jackson.
From the Inside Cover Copy:
Laurel Gray Hawthorne hasn't seen a ghost in the thirteen years she and her husband have lived in the beautiful gated neighborhood of Victorianna. keeping her head down, she's managed to make a good life for her beloved daughter and husband while working on her nationally acclaimed art quilts. But in the dog days of a Florida August, she wakes to find a dead girl standing by her bed. It's the ghost of her daughter's best friend, Molly, who leads the way to her own small body, floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Now, with police on her lawn and neighbors peeking over the fence, Laurel's carefully constructed existence cracks, and her past seeps through.
Laurel and her sister, Thalia, grew up in what appears to be a typical blue-collar home, but the Grays have long been hiding a very literal skeleton in their closet. While Laurel built her pretty, pleasing life in the suburbs, Thalia became an actress with a capital A, about as unconventional as they come. She's the walking definition of mess, and no longer fits in Laurel's tidy world. Yet Molly can't rest until someone learns her secrets, and she has opened a door to the past that Laurel can't close alone. She turns to her wild and estranged sister, though asking for Thalia's help is like jumping into a hot frying pan protected only bu a thin layer of Crisco. Together they set out on a life altering journey that will reveal their family's buried history, the true state of Laurel's perfect marriage, and what really happened to the girl who stopped swimming.
Doesn't that make you want to read the book? Well, it should, because that is actually a totally accurate example of cover copy. It's so correct, I can't say a single word about it...except "YES!"
As for the actual story... Whew! I don't even know what else to say, but I'll try.
Like Ms. Jackson's previous two novels, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is a thrilling roller-coaster of emotion. From the opening paragraph, I was pulled into the story of Laurel Hawthorne and her almost crazy Southern family.
The plot was tight, the pacing was superb, and the characters seemed to step right off the page. And the voice? Well, if you've read a Jackson novel already, then you know about the voice. If you haven't (and what HAVE you been reading, if not one of her books?!?), then let me give you an example...
Thalia had stared up at Daddy's face as if it were more interesting than any thousand fairies, but Laurel had peered hard out at the fireflies and seen the curved body of a girl, slim as filament, glowing in the heart of every light.
Isn't that beautiful? Have you ever heard fireflies described quite like that before? If not, then you've obviously skipped your portion of Jackson this year.
I can't really say much more about the book without giving something away, and trust me, there's plenty to give away. It's one of those books that you will suck up fast, because it keeps rolling. But then you'll have to re-read it, almost as soon as you finish, because the way it all ties up makes you want to go back and experience it all again.
I can remember the first time I read it, just a few weeks ago. I blocked off an entire day, because I knew that once I started I wouldn't be able to put it down. And I didn't. Not for food, not for movie night, not for anything. I held my breath at least a dozen times. I rushed to the end, because I had to find out what happened to that girl in the pool, and to Thalia, and to Laurel. When I finished, I put the book down and walked downstairs, the tears still seeping out of my eyes. I sat down in my chair and my husband and oldest daughter just looked at me. "Are you ok?" they both asked. My reply? "I just need to figure out how to breathe again." Once I figured it out (which took about half an hour to do properly), I was fine. I headed back upstairs and started reading it all over again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Telling you to read this book just isn't enough. I really should post a warning with my recommendation: IF YOU BUY THIS BOOK, PLAN ON READING IT OFTEN. <--- said in my public announcer's voice.
So go ahead. Dive into The Girl Who Stopped Swimming. But be forewarned: Once just won't be enough.
Keep Turning Those Pages!!
Oh yeah, about those extras...
Don't forget to enter one of the contests for a chance at winning a signed copies of THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING.
- For one contest, simply tell me about your most intense or bizarre celebrity stalker experience, in the comments of this post.
- For the other contest, copy the .jpg and the ICC (that's the picture of the cover of the book and the inside cover copy, in purple near the top of this post) and paste them onto YOUR blog, with a linkback to this blogpost. Please also add in the comments here where your post is, so I can add you up in the sidebar.
And, just to make things more interesting, the FABulous Joshilyn Jackson is going to give away some extras. Don't believe me? Check out her website here (2/24 post) for more details. I told you she was pretty!
Can you get any more FAB than that?
Stay tuned for more Joss, all week long!