The Floating Girls

Sourcebooks Landmark. Jul. 2022. 384p. ISBN 9781728248752. pap. $16.99. F
DEBUT Part murder mystery, part coming-of-age drama of a very vulnerable girl, the debut novel by ex-lawyer Patrick is both bitingly funny and painfully depressing. Twelve-year-old Kay Whitaker, from the marshlands of Bledsoe, GA, has a lot to say. It could be that she’s compensating for the silence of the women in her family: her aloof mother, a peculiar sister, and another sister who died at birth and was buried in the yard. Often at odds with her father and two brothers, Kay is in many ways raising herself through defiance and self-reliance as she lives in extreme poverty and abject loneliness. Then Kay meets Andy Webber and his father, just back from California where they moved after the death of Andy’s mother. Kay’s father doesn’t want her befriending the Webbers but won’t say why. As she spends more time with Andy, Kay wonders how much isn’t being said between the families. When her sister disappears, Kay is determined to uncover both families’ secrets.
VERDICT This is classic Southern girlhood fiction with a twist. Readers who enjoyed Ashleigh Bell Pederson’s recent debut, The Crocodile Bride, will fall in love with Kay.
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