The Girl Who Stopped Swimming Review
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Following a hunting accident involving her uncle Marty, Laurel Hawthorne would awake during the night to see his ghost standing beside her bed. But that was thirteen years ago, and she hasn’t seen him—or any other ghost—since she moved to Florida with her husband and daughter. She’s escaped the fate of her childhood and made a good life for herself—or so she thinks.

On a hot August night, Laurel awakens to find her daughter’s best friend, Molly, standing in her bedroom. Molly is wet from the pool, but there aren’t any puddles on the floor, suggesting that she’s no longer among the living. Upon investigating, Laurel finds Molly drowned in their pool—but what looks like a tragic accident may not be.

As Laurel tries to deal with the drowning and her suspicions involving a man who jogs in the neighborhood, she calls her estranged sister, Thalia, for help. Thalia’s unconventional methods of dealing with life have Laurel examining her childhood memories and the life she’s made for herself far from the poverty of Alabama—as well as her mother’s philosophy that if you shut the door to your home while something scandalous is going on, the neighbors can’t see in, so the scandal isn’t really happening.

Not only is The Girl Who Stopped Swimming a mystery, but it’s also a story about life. It’s about the lengths we’ll go to hide the parts we dislike and to fight for those we love. Laurel thinks she’s escaped her past, but, in truth, she really hasn’t. She’s more like her mother than she’d like to admit—and she pretends that all is well when it’s really not.

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming is a rare find among today’s novels. Ms. Jackson has written a memorable story with characters and scenes that will linger in your mind long into the future. Her characters are so real that you’ll actually feel as though they exist somewhere other than on the pages of a great book.

The story offers a glimpse into the poverty of some parts of the South and the people who live it—as well as those who get out. Ms. Jackson knows what makes the South tick, and she brings it to life while telling a gripping story of betrayal and mystery.

Pick up a copy of this intelligent mystery, and you’ll see just how talented Ms. Jackson really is.

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