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Joshilyn Jackson was born and grew up in the Deep South. A former actress and award-winning teacher, she is now a full-time writer. Joshilyn lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and their two children.
Photograph Â© Elizabeth W. Osborne
Startling. Clever. Thrilling. Different. This book snatched my attention from the moment I entered, and the ending siren-called to me throughout. When new neighbour Roux joins the local book group, she suggests a game that quickly turns Amy’s life upside down. Amy has a secret, and Roux threatens to reveal all, unless Amy plays by her rules. The first chapter is oh so clever, my thoughts twisted, scattered, re-grouped. I was desperate to know where this was heading, and what was coming. I am not often tempted to peek at the ending, as I love the build, the tension, the reveal. I admit that I almost had to sit on my hands to stop myself from looking! Joshilyn Jackson has created two main characters who entered my mind, knocked down thoughts, and created turbulent feelings. I bristled with indignation, winced and flinched as I read. Never Have I Ever isn’t an easy, obliging read, instead it is wonderfully shocking, completely addictive, and thoroughly entertaining. I’ve chosen the fabulous Never Have I Ever as one of my picks of the month.
Shortlisted for the Spread the Word : Books to Talk About 2008.I adore the American small town dramatic novel, preferably with a murder, and this debut is one of the best in this area. The characterisation is superb, the prejudice and pettiness beautifully handled and the heroine has such a dilemma you really cannot see how she will get through. Suspenseful, addictive and truly memorable, it is a must-read if ever there was one.Comparison: Adriana Trigiani, Rebecca Wells, Alice Hoffman.Similar this month: None, but try Annabel Dilke or Nicky Pellegrino.
Laurel Hawthorne has worked hard to create a good life for her family, determined not to raise her daughter in the subdued, secretive household that she herself grew up in. And everything is just fine until the night she is awoken by a ghost in her bedroom; the ghost of 14-year-old neighbour Molly, whose body is now floating, face-down and lifeless in Laurel's swimming pool . . . The whole town thinks it was an accident, but Laurel knows in her bones that there is something more sinister afoot. And that's when her perfect world begins to crumble. With the help of her eccentric sister, Laurel sets off on a mission to investigate what really happened to the girl who stopped swimming. But along the way she starts to uncover the truth about her family, and just what did happen in the woods all those years ago - on a day she has managed to blank out, until now . . .
Laurel Gray Hawthorne hasn't seen a ghost in the thirteen years she and her husband have lived in their beautiful gated community. Then, in the dog days of a Florida August, she wakes to find Molly, her daughter's best friend, standing by her bed, who then leads her to her own small body floating lifelessly in the Hawthornes' pool. Laurel's carefully constructed existence cracks, and the past seeps through. Laurel and her sister, Thalia, grew up in what looked like a typical blue-collar home. But the Grays have long been hiding a skeleton in their closet. While Laurel built her ';perfect' life, Thalia became an actress with a capital A, a woman who doesn't fit in Laurel's tidy world. Now Molly can't rest until someone learns her secrets. Laurel turns to her sister, and together they begin a journey that will unearth their family's history, the true state of Laurel's marriage, and what really happened to the girl who stopped swimming. ';A vivid, smartly calibrated achievement . . . a ghost story, family psychodrama, and murder mystery all in one.'Entertainment Weekly ';A breakthrough novel . . . full of unexpected twists . . . beautifully balances between magical and realist fiction and [close] in tone and voice to Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones or Richard Ford's Frank Bascombe trilogy.'Atlanta Journal-Constitution ';A great tale . . . builds to an exciting and violent ending, one that surprises.'USA Today
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.Richer and more rewarding than any story Joshilyn Jackson has yet written, yet still packed with Jackson's trademarked outrageous characters, sparkling dialogue, and defiantly twisting plotting, THE GIRL WHO STOPPED SWIMMING is destined both to delight Jackson's loyal fans and capture a whole new audience.
Nonny Frett understands the meaning of the phrase "e;inbetween a rock and a hard place"e; better than any womanalive. She's got two mothers, "e;one deaf-blind and theother four baby steps from flat crazy."e; She's got twomen: a husband who's easing out the back door; and abest friend, who's laying siege to her heart in her frontyard. And she has two families: the Fretts, who stole herand raised her right; and the Crabtrees, who won't forgethow they were done wrong. Now, in Between,Georgia, a feud that began the night Nonny was bornis escalating and threatening to expose family secrets.Ironically, it might be just what the town needs...if onlyNonny weren't stuck in between.