In the insular community of Arco, Idaho in 1970, 13-year-old Jory Quanbeck’s life seems to be perfect, if a little strange to outsiders. She’s close to her two sisters, younger Frances and older, pious Grace. Her father is a well-respected college professor who teaches his children about astronomy. Her mother is a homemaker, churning out endless supplies of nutritious yet tasteless lentil loaf between prolonged bouts of headache and exhaustion.
But one summer can change everything. Jory strikes up a strange friendship with the charming driver of their neighborhood ice cream truck, and Grace returns from a mission trip to Mexico several months pregnant, claiming the baby is a gift from God. Frightened and embarrassed, their parents pull both Jory and Grace from school and exile them to a small farmhouse on the outskirts of town. There, free from parental supervision and the rigidity of their childhood home, Jory and Grace each begin to reexamine the things they’ve always accepted as truth.
Spellbinding and quirky, The Girl Who Slept with God is an engrossing coming-of-age novel and a perfect tribute to the complexity and strength of sisterhood.
“In the silence, Jory thought she could hear a moth’s wings battening against the searing heat of the streetlight bulb. It would be like flying into the sun, the thought. Like turning your face into the brightest, whitest, most brilliant light. Like deliberately diving into a beautiful, self-obliterating pool of fire. Would that be such a terrible and foolish trade: a moment’s pure and incandescent joy in exchange for an eternity of darkest nothingness? She closed her eyes tight and tighter, and for almost a second allowed herself to imagine that she still knew how to pray.”
Val Brelinski is the author of The Girl Who Slept with God, her debut novel. Raised in Nampa, Idaho, she now lives in California and teaches creative writing at Standford University. Her work has appeared Salon, Vogue, The Boise Weekly, and The Rumpus, among others.
Length: 368 pages
Set in: Arco, Idaho, United States
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