Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fresh Link: TC Spotlights Debut Authors

“Why did Lorrie Ann look graceful in beat-up Keds and shorts a bit too small for her? Why was it charming when she snorted from laughing too hard? Yes, we were jealous of her, and yet we did not hate her. She was never so much as teased by us, we roaming and bratty girls of Corona del Mar, thieves of corn nuts and orange soda, abusers of lip gloss and foul language.”

An astonishing debut about friendships made in youth, The Girls from Corona del Mar is a fiercely beautiful novel about how these bonds, challenged by loss, illness, parenthood, and distance, either break or endure.

Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends: hard-hearted Mia and untouchably beautiful, kind Lorrie Ann. While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregnancy at fifteen, and younger brothers she loves but can’t quite be good to, Lorrie Ann is luminous, surrounded by her close-knit family, immune to the mistakes that mar her best friend’s life. Then a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall further—and there is nothing Mia can do to help. And as good, brave, fair Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is, and what that question means about them both.

A staggeringly honest, deeply felt novel of family, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship, The Girls from Corona del Mar asks just how well we know those we love, what we owe our children, and who we are without our friends.
"A knockout of a debut novel. . . Pugnacious, risk-taking Mia, a child of divorce, grows up envious of Lorrie Ann, with her intact family and her elegant, upturned nose. Then in their junior year of high school, everything changes when a family tragedy strikes, marking “the first tap-tap on Lorrie Ann’s window­pane by those bad luck vultures” . . . Thorpe is too firmly in control to let an abundance of plot points crowd out her narrative’s deeper meanings. Her worldly, rambunctious, feminist, morally interrogative prose style galvanizes ­every episode with smart, almost cosmic insights, tough talk, elegiac moments of love, dumb wonder, and, of course, further tragic events. . . We can’t help but root for these memorable heroines, and Thorpe’s beautiful twist of an ending is admirably earned."

"This literary novel will leave readers questioning the myths and realities of complicated friendships."

"The divergent paths of two girls raised in a Southern California beach town plot the course for Thorpe's affecting debut novel. . . Thorpe unflinchingly examines the psychological tug-of-war between friends, and delves in to the pro-choice debate and issues relating to medical malpractice to give the personal narrative heft. The result is a nuanced portrait of two women who are sisters in everything but name."
—Publishers Weekly

"Rufi Thorpe had me at the first line in her funny, sad, delightful debut novel, The Girls from Corona del Mar. A story about friendship, love, loss, and the sheer unexpectedness of life. Reading this book was like getting to know old friends; I was sorry when I turned the last page."
—Anton DiSclafani, author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls

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