The American Girl: A Novel

Paperback | August 2, 2016

byKate Horsley

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From a bright new talent comes a riveting psychological thriller about an American exchange student in France involved in a suspicious accident, and the journalist determined to break the story and uncover the dark secrets a small town is hiding.

On a quiet summer morning, seventeen-year-old American exchange student Quinn Perkins stumbles out of the woods near the small French town of St. Roch. Barefoot, bloodied, and unable to say what has happened to her, Quinn’s appearance creates quite a stir, especially since the Blavettes—the French family with whom she’s been staying—have mysteriously disappeared. Now the media, and everyone in the idyllic village, are wondering if the American girl had anything to do with her host family’s disappearance.

Though she is cynical about the media circus that suddenly forms around the girl, Boston journalist Molly Swift cannot deny she is also drawn to the mystery and travels to St. Roch. She is prepared to do anything to learn the truth, including lying so she can get close to Quinn. But when a shocking discovery turns the town against Quinn and she is arrested for the murders of the Blavette family, she finds an unlikely ally in Molly.

As a trial by media ensues, Molly must unravel the disturbing secrets of the town’s past in an effort to clear Quinn’s name, but even she is forced to admit that the American Girl makes a very compelling murder suspect. Is Quinn truly innocent and as much a victim as the Blavettes—or is she a cunning, diabolical killer intent on getting away with murder…?

Told from the alternating perspectives of Molly, as she’s drawn inexorably closer to the truth, and Quinn’s blog entries tracing the events that led to her accident, The American Girl is a deliciously creepy, contemporary, twisting mystery leading to a shocking conclusion.

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From the Publisher

From a bright new talent comes a riveting psychological thriller about an American exchange student in France involved in a suspicious accident, and the journalist determined to break the story and uncover the dark secrets a small town is hiding.On a quiet summer morning, seventeen-year-old American exchange student Quinn Perkins stumb...

From the Jacket

A riveting psychological thriller about an American exchange student in France involved in a suspicious accident—and the dark secrets a small town is hiding. . . . On a quiet summer morning seventeen-year-old American exchange student Quinn Perkins stumbles out of the woods near the small French town of St. Roch, barefoot, bloodied, an...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.97 inPublished:August 2, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062438514

ISBN - 13:9780062438515

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Customer Reviews of The American Girl: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from gripping psychological thriller The American Girl is a well written, gripping psychological thriller set in a small town in the South of France. A young American girl who is visiting as an exchange student is involved in a terrible accident which leaves her in a coma. The host family she was staying with disappears at the same time. There is some suspicion on the American girl, Quinn, from the start - it could be that she herself has done something bad to the family. Molly Swift, a journalist from Boston, who will do anything to get to the truth behind the story, begins to investigate, the case and as she does she gets drawn into Quinn's life and finds herself not sure whether she believes the girl to be guilty or innocent. Both Molly and Quinn are well drawn characters, and the mystery is keeps you turning the pages. The novel has a spooky feel, downright creepy at times - as in the caves - and surprises readers with dark, unexpected twists. A suspenseful, very enthralling read.
Date published: 2016-10-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from just okay The American Girl by Kate Horsley has just released. Seventeen year old American Quinn Perkins has travelled to France to participate in an exchange program with the Blavettes, a French family. Seemingly normal - until Quinn stumbles out of the woods "barefoot, bloodied and unable to say what has happened to her." And the host family is missing... So, what has gone on? What happened to Quinn? Where are the Blavettes? Journalist Molly Swift wants answers to those questions. With Quinn in a coma, Molly lies about who she is and inserts herself into both Quinn's life and the police investigation. Horsley starts things off with a good premise, reminding me somewhat of the case of Amanda Knox. Horsley fills in the blanks in a back and forth, then and now narrative that jumps around, juxtaposing Quinn's arrival at the Blavettes with the current day investigation. I don't see that this book is being marketed to the teen crowd. For me, it definitely had the feel of a young adult novel, rather than an adult "riveting psychological thriller". I grew weary of Quinn's obsessing about the oldest son, her bad choices and her acceptance of things. And Quinn's father? Completely unbelievable. The police investigation was quite flawed and highly unbelievable in my opinion. The video diary of Quinn recovering her memories was a great plot device though. Molly Swift I liked - a lot. She could carry a story on her own. Her deceptions didn't bother me in the least - most likely because I just didn't like or connect with the lead character Quinn. The romantic interest with the lead detective seemed extraneous and stilted though - it could have been left out. The Blavettes, especially Emelie, are overdrawn and their actions overtly obvious. Yes, we know there's something up with the family, but a subtler hand would have raised the tension just as well. Horsley does inject a nice twist at the end - one that was fairly well telegraphed - but still, a good ending. I found the final reveal of the reasons behind the crimes, town, police and the family overwrought, overdone and overly lurid. The American Girl was just an okay read for me - I followed through to the end to see if my suspicions were correct.
Date published: 2016-08-03

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Editorial Reviews

“[A] compelling psychological thriller...[with] Poe-like dread and David Lynch-like surrealism...Recommend this one to fans of Allison Brennan, Jennifer McMahon, and Wendy Corsi Staub.”