Skip to main content

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


Popular posts from this blog

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for…

In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at does not offer any insi…

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

When the end came, it seemed to do so completely out of the blue, and it wasn't until long afterward that I was able to see that there was a chain of events leading up to it. Some of those events had nothing to do with us, the Morrisons, but were solely the concern of the Pyes, who lived on a farm about a mile away and were our nearest neighbors." from page seven
I must confess that it took me longer than it really needed to in order to finish the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. The entire story is building up to the big catastrophe that forever destroys all the hopes and dreams the Morrison clan ever dared to hope and dream for its future. In the eyes of the narrator, it is even worse than the tragedy of the car crash that claimed both parents' lives one evening on the heels of some good news the family has received and celebrated. Now you can see why I dreaded getting to the end of a book that drips in foreboding like nobody's business. What can be a worse tra…