American Girls: Book summary and reviews of American Girls by Alison Umminger

American Girls

by Alison Umminger

American Girls by Alison Umminger
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2016
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

She was looking for a place to land.

Anna is a fifteen-year-old girl slouching toward adulthood, and she's had it with her life at home. So Anna "borrows" her stepmom's credit card and runs away to Los Angeles, where her half-sister takes her in. But LA isn't quite the glamorous escape Anna had imagined.

As Anna spends her days on TV and movie sets, she engrosses herself in a project researching the murderous Manson girls - and although the violence in her own life isn't the kind that leaves physical scars, she begins to notice the parallels between herself and the lost girls of LA, and of America, past and present.

In Anna's singular voice, we glimpse not only a picture of life on the B-list in LA, but also a clear-eyed reflection on being young, vulnerable, lost, and female in America - in short, on the B-list of life. Alison Umminger writes about girls, sex, violence, and which people society deems worthy of caring about, which ones it doesn't, in a way not often seen in YA fiction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Umminger crafts a Los Angeles both glittering and soulless, leading to Anna's realization that she may have more in common with the Manson girls than she thought, but it's the choices she makes that set her apart." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. An insightful, original take on the coming-of-age story, this novel plumbs the depths of American culture to arrive at a poignant emotional truth." - Kirkus

"Starred Review. Bittersweet and true, Anna's journey to self-discovery is one that should be widely read." - Booklist

"This is an introspective account of how deeply the invisible scars of familial emotional abuse can run and how easily they can wreak havoc on the lives of everyone close by." - School Library Journal

"Alison Umminger doesn't pull any punches in her debut: Funny, sad, often surprising, and just damned authentic. I know I won't be the only one who didn't want Anna's glittery-dark Hollywood summer to end." - Emily M. Danforth, author of The Miseducation of Cameron Post

"The most imaginative novel I've read in years. Incredible and important." - Kiese Laymon, author of How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

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More Information

Alison Umminger grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and as an undergraduate was the fourth woman to be elected president of The Harvard Lampoon. Today, she is a professor of English at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia, where she lives with her family. American Girls is her first novel.

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