Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: The American Girl by Kate Horsley

You ever have one of those Magic 8-Balls as a kid? ~ Opening sentence of The American Girl



The American Girl by Kate Horsley
William Morrow, 2016
Crime Fiction; 352 pgs

It's an intriguing plot line straight from the headlines: an American teenager living in another country with little to no memory of what's happened to herself or the missing host family. Add to the mix a journalist who becomes entangled in the girl's current situation. Told from the perspective of the journalist, Molly Swift, and through blog posts written and video recorded by the girl, Quinn Perkins, The American Girl is a layered thriller that takes some dark and interesting turns.

St. Roch is a suffering coastal town in France, beautiful but with its heyday long behind it. When Quinn wanders out of the woods, battered, only to be hit by a car that takes off without stopping, her story becomes an international sensation. All eyes turn to St. Roch as people try to piece together what happened. Then when it is realized her entire French host family is missing, suspicions are raised. Did she have something to do with their disappearance? Everyone wants to know, including Boston journalist Molly Swift who works for American Confessional, a podcast specializing sensationalized news stories.

Molly stumbles into a way to get close to Quinn, taking advantage of the lax security in the hospital where Quinn is staying. Molly takes an instant liking to the girl, seeing something of herself in her. She feels bad for Quinn whose father seems to have no interest in her, even given her situation, too tied up in his new family. In many ways, Quinn seems like a typical teenage girl. She is insecure and has a crush on a college boy. The more the reader learns about Quinn and the Blavettes, the family Quinn was staying with in France, it becomes clear there is more there than what first meets the eye.

Even despite Molly's questionable ethics, I couldn't help but like her. There was just something about her protectiveness of Quinn and her persistence to find the truth that endeared me to her. I felt for Quinn, although I never completely warmed to her. Given her home life, Quinn was already vulnerable, and then throw her into an unstable situation with the Blavettes who have their own problems--and secrets.

 The American Girl tackles serious and relevant issues of today. I felt the author did a good job of showing how easily it can be for someone in a vulnerable position to fall prey to being taken advantage of and victimized. In addition, the author captures the tone of today's social media polarization, with people on social media so quick to jump on a story, even before all the details are out; act as judge and jury to those who come under scrutiny, sympathies changing so easily; and how easily things can be manipulated and get out of control.

Author Kate Horsley takes the novel in a direction I had not quite expected. It is a layered and complex novel. The pieces fall into place pretty quickly towards the end of the novel, although the details are not as fleshed out as I might have liked. Even before that though, there were moments in which my suspension of disbelief was stretched to the edge. However, I found The American Girl to be an engrossing and suspenseful novel over all.


To learn more about Kate Horsley and her work, please visit the author's websiteShe can also be found on Goodreads and Twitter.


I hope you will check out what others had to say about June on the TLC Book Tours route!







Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour.  Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review.


© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

24 comments:

  1. Ooooh, sounds like an interesting book! And with podcasts gaining more and more attention (especially after Serial), it seems very timely.

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    1. Eustacia - I haven't quite caught the podcast bug, but I know my husband listens to them. This is definitely a timely book!

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  2. I recced this a couple of weeks ago and LOVED LOVED the sound of it! yours is pretty much the first review of it I've read and I'm soooo happy it's so good!!

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    1. Verushka - I hope you enjoy it when you read it!

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  3. This does sound interesting--especially your mention of social media polarization. I used to enjoy FB mainly for the uplifting or unusual things I found there, but lately I've tried to stay away because of the "bandwagon" kind of thing and the awful political polarization.

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    1. Jenclair - Ugh. Facebook is full of political talk right now, and most of it so negative. I've blocked so many websites there and even muted a couple relatives so I don't end up hating them by the end of the election.

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  4. I think kids today are more sophisticated and also more naive, if that makes sense. This sounds like it could have been snatched from the headlines.

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    1. Kathy - Oh, yes, I agree. Kids today are extremely sophisticated while still being more naive. They have early exposure to technology but not the life experience we did when we were their age. It makes for a vulnerable combination.

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  5. I need this book! It sounds amazing. I can handle suspension of belief if I'm enjoying the rest of the book enough and this sounds like one that would keep me up super late wanting to find out what happened.

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    1. Katherine - I hope you get a chance to read it. It's pretty dark, especially the second half, but good.

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  6. This sounds terrific! I really enjoyed a previous novel by this author.

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    1. Stephanie - I definitely want to check out her backlist.

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  7. "there were moments in which my suspension of disbelief was stretched to the edge"

    I think that tends to happen in this genre. Then again, sometime reality is stranger than fiction. :D

    This book sounds really good! I like that it incorporates other forms of media.

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    1. Christy - That's true. It's just a matter of whether the author can keep me in the story or not when it happens.

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  8. I almost requested for this book! This really sounds interesting and I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it. And that social media polarisation issue is definitely something needs pondering about. These days I'm amazed by how fast our young ones are catching up with the Internet as well as the social media platforms.

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    1. Melody - It really is something we need to keep in mind. News is coming at us all the time now thanks to social media, facts aren't being checked ahead of time, and so stories are always evolving.

      Kids pick up new technology so fast. It's hard to keep up with them, and yet, as parents, it's important we do so.

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  9. This looks so interesting! I haven't read any mystery/suspense/thriller novels since the earlier Dan Brown books (are they mystery/suspense/thriller?) but the recent resurgence of the genre makes me wonder if I should give it a try again. And it's also the first time I've read the term 'social media polarization'. It reminds me of something I heard on the news here recently, that "he didn't need a trial anymore, I've been tried by the court of public opinion."

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    1. Nina - Yes, tried by the jury of social media, unfortunately, has become a thing.

      Crime fiction is (and has always been) one of my favorite genres. I have read a couple of Dan Brown's books a few years ago and enjoyed them.:-)

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  10. Social media can be a ton of fun but there is a serious dark side to it as well. So scary!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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    1. Heather - So true! And it is scary when you really think about it.

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  11. Great review! I think this one has a great premise and definitely going on my list of TBR books. I love a good thriller!

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    1. Iliana - Thank you! I hope you enjoy it if you do read it. It definitely kept me guessing.

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  12. I will probably read this book this year.

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    1. Terra - I hope you enjoy it if you do read it!

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