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"It was August. For years it was August . . . . There was heat like wet gauze and a high, white sky and music coming from everywhere at once."
In the long, hot Illinois summer of 1973, insecure, motherless Jamie falls under the dangerous spell of her older, more worldly cousin Fawn, who's come to stay with Jamie and her uncle as penance for committing an "unmentionable act." It is a time of awakenings and corruptions, of tragedy and loss, as Jamie slowly discovers the extent to which Fawn will use anything and anyone to further her own ends—and recognizes, perhaps too late, her own complicity in the disaster that takes shape around them.
“Paula McLain has put a poet’s ear to the urgency of adolescence...a strong throb of a first novel.”
-Cleveland Plain Dealer
“…poet and memoirist McLain compels as she excavates two tragedies.”
“[McLain’s] writing is gorgeous, and Jamie and Fawn are heartbreakingly real.”
-Katrina Kittle, author of The Kindness of Strangers
“Filled with mystery and longing, McLain lays bare the raw emotion that guides us all...”
-Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle
“...a haunting coming-of-age story...sun-dazzled prose that hides a cold, foreboding underbelly...gorgeous writing.”
-Gillian Flynn, author of Sharp Objects
“...a vivid portrait of the summer of ‘73...the relationships it expores are timeless...a genuine literary accomplishment.”
-Dan Chaon, author of You Remind Me of Me
“...[A] beautifully written book...deeply felt and engrossing--an immense pleasure to read.”
-Leah Stewart, author of The Myth of You and Me
“Assured and ambitious... the complicated bonds of a makeshift family... lyrical precision. A deft and haunting book.”
-Katharine Noel, author of Halfway House
“Absorbing, tantalizing, and super-heated as an endless summer day.”
-Michelle Wildgen, author of You're Not You