Friday, March 23, 2012

Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer

1985 is a pretty terrible year for Apron. As if it wasn't bad enough that her mother died, her father has taken up with her mom's nurse - who's now pregnant. Her father has retreated into his academic life, leaving Apron alone with the woman who hates her. Apron's friends are growing distant and her grandmother can only help so much, and she might even have to give away her pet guinea pig. The only bright spot in her life is Jesus - not the actual Jesus, but the guy who played Jesus in a local production of Jesus Christ Superstar. His name is Mike, and his aunt lives next door to Apron's family. As Apron gets to know Mike, she learns about what a great guy he is and spends time helping out Mike and his boyfriend Chad with their flower shop. But even this happiness comes with dark clouds, because Apron learns about other people's homophobia and Chad keeps getting sicker and sicker.

I could tell when reading it that this was a story that meant a lot to its author. All books, yes, mean a lot to their authors, but this story seems like it is deeply connected to Jennifer Gooch Hummer. You don't start writing this book because you think it's going to be a fun story. And yet, saying that somehow sells it short. Parts of Girl Unmoored are very dark and sad, but it's not defined by despair. Apron in particular is a fascinating character. Her process of dealing with her grief and frustration mixed with the more conventional transitions of growing up allow for her to be a character all her own. The entire book takes place over a span of a few months, showing how quickly one's life can change.  Spoiler alert: get some Kleenex along with this book, because by the last few chapters I was definitely needing some.

Learn lots more about Girl Unmoored and Jennifer Gooch Hummer at her website.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Fiction Studio Books.

Find it at Amazon.

Read it with:
Bummer Summer by Ann M. Martin
Positively by Courtney Sheinmel
Same-Sex Marriage by Tricia Andryszewski

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