The American Girl – Kate Horsley

american girlMeet Quinn Perkins, a seventeen-year-old American exchange student spending a semester in the small French town of St. Roch.

Meet the Blavettes, Quinn’s host family. Sixteen-year-old Noemie, her nineteen-year-old brother, Raphael, and their mom, Emilie.

Meet Molly Swift, an American reporter for American Confessional, an podcast series that takes on “stories of police incompetence or just general incompetence, and find[s] the real story.”

When Quinn wanders out of the woods “barefoot and bloodied” only to be hit by a car (the driver of which doesn’t stop) and left in a coma, Molly and her journalistic muse, Bill, think Quinn would make a perfect story, something about “a young American girl coming of age, going into the world on her own only to encounter the unkindness of a stranger.”

Quinn’s story is slightly more complicated than that, though. Through a series of flashbacks, readers are introduced to the toxic Blavette household: father Marc  has left the family after an incident at the local school (which is attached to the house the family lives in and has subsequently been closed). Madame Blavette now takes exchange students as a way of making ends meet.

First thought to be away on a holiday, it is soon revealed that the Blavette family has disappeared without a trace. When Quinn wakes up in the hospital after her accident, she has no memory. Good thing, too, since Molly feels like the best way to get close to Quinn is to pretend to be her aunt. (Quinn’s father back home in America, is too busy with his much-younger pregnant wife to make the trip to France after Quinn’s accident.)

Kate Horsley’s The American Girl would make a terrific Netflix mini series. It’s populated with a cast of characters who all seem to have ulterior motives making it impossible to decide who is telling the truth. There are subplots galore including threatening Snapchat messages, sinister caves, locked doors and menacing strangers.

If this seems like a lot – it’s really not. The book was a lot of fun to read.


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