An immersive mystery, The Girls is a book about long buried secrets, friendship and forgiveness.
The Girls by Lisa Jewell
You live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses.
You’ve known your neighbours for years and you trust them. Implicitly.
You think your children are safe.
But are they really?
Midsummer night: a thirteen-year-old girl is found unconscious in a dark corner of the garden square. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?
Secrets have a way to find their way into the open, and once they are out, the consequences are often devastating. A stupid rumour can take a sudden and sinister turn if it involves someone you know well. Things your husband, sister or best friend does all the time suddenly take on a dark undertone, and you wonder if you ever knew them at all.
Is your husband just a touchy-feely dude, or you should be worried about him straying? Does grandpa has a wandering eye? What is the old lady doing in the garden with a rabbit?
Grace and Pip are two average teenage sisters whose life takes a dramatic turn when their father has a psychotic breakdown and is institutionalized as a result and they are forced to move to a tiny flat with their mum. They quickly become friends with three other girls from their new neighbourhood and it seems everything will turn out just fine. Willow, Fern and Catkin are sort of hippies, they don’t even go to school, but their parents welcome Pip and Grace into their family where they soon become a permanent fixture. When Grace falls in love with Dylan, one of the boys from the garden community, some teenage drama ensues.
There’s quite a lot going on even without the mystery of what happened to Grace. Some of the residents have been sharing the garden for decades, and the events bring up dark memories from the past. The events are told from multiple perspectives that overlap to give us the full picture. An especially cute part of the story is twelve-year-old Pip’s letters to her dad.
Even though that tragic night overshadows the whole story, not everything is all doom and gloom, there are some hilarious moments, like there would be in real life. Like when Adele, the mum of Willow, Fern and Catkin has a freak out about offering hummus to the police officer with the Greek surname, because what if it’s culturally insensitive.
The Girls is not a fast paced, edge of the seat thriller, but there’s just enough mystery to keep you entertained on the way to find out just what exactly happened that night.