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The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

Until the drowned girl came to Laurel's bedroom, ghosts had never walked in Victorianna. The houses were only twenty years old, with no accumulated history to put creaks in the hardwood floors or rattle at the pipes.

from page 1, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming


I had previously read the first 30 pages of Jackson's Between, Georgia before recommending the library buy her new novel, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming. So even before I picked this book up, I knew I was in for some uniquely drawn characters. Lately it seems this is just the lastest in a string of books that I've been reading that happen to be populated by eccentric characters. Why I haven't gotten past the first 30 pages of Between, Georgia is a long story that has to do with my book reading habits/rituals, and it is a little ... I'm not sure if obsessive or neurotic are the right words for it, but someday, I will get that one read as well.

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is the story of two sisters, Laurel and Thalia. Thalia is a trip and a half and can be at times excruciatingly infuriating on one page and then redeem herself in the next page by confessing her willingness to "burn down Paris" if that's what it takes to protect her niece. Late one night Laurel finds her daughter's best friend drowned in the family pool in the backyard. The mystery of what exactly transpired that night proves the catalyst that leads to an airing of the family's dirty laundry after which no one's life will be quite the same. In the end the book takes a bit of a disturbing twist when it comes to the resolution of the mystery of the death of the girl who stopped swimming.

Jackson's characters are unique, eccentric and richly drawn. After the arrival of Thalia in quiet, little Victorianna, the story quickly careens off on a wild ride while the reader hangs on until its dramatic ending. Ultimately, it becomes a story of what one is willing to do to protect those one loves.

I highly recommend you pick up this book. It is available from Matthews Public Library.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie

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