The Girl Who Stopped Swimming: Book summary and reviews of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

By Joshilyn Jackson

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2008,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the literal family skeleton stays in the closet or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neatly on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 13-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne. The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is inexplicable--an unseemly mystery Laurel knows no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Only her wayward, unpredictable sister is right for the task, but calling in a favor from Thalia is like walking straight into a frying pan protected only by Crisco. Enlisting Thalia's help, Laurel sets out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about her family's guarded past, the true state of her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The tragic figure, Bet, gets short shrift, as if Jackson doesn't quite know what to do with her. An entertaining but shallow spin on a Southern Gothic." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Jackson illuminates not just the complexities of family love as a source of safety and support but also the complexities of danger and death." - Library Journal.

"What makes this novel shine are its revelations about the dark side of Southern society and Thalia and Laurel's finely honed relationship, which shows just how much thicker blood is than water." - Publishers Weekly.

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Joshilyn Jackson is also the author of Gods in Alabama and Between, Georgia, which were both #1 Booksense picks.

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