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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Girl Unmoored - Jennifer Gooch Hummer

Released March 2012

Jennifer Gooch Hummer
Fiction Studio Books

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

In many ways, I connected with the heroine in Girl Unmoored. While she appeared to be a little younger than me at the time, I was a teen in the 1980s and really understand a key component of this book better than many of today's youth. For that reason, I probably shed a few more tears than many of today's teens will.

Apron Bramhall's coping with her mother's death, her father's live-in girlfriend, and the announcement that her father and his girlfriend, "M," are expecting a baby. M is anything but pleasant towards Apron. Apron's best friend abandoned their friendship to hang out with a popular girl, and that leaves Apron with a lousy home life and little in the way of companionship, until she meets Mike.

Mike looks exactly like Jesus, so it's not surprising that he's playing the lead role in Jesus Christ Superstar. Soon, Mike and his partner Chad take Apron under their wing and have her helping out in their flower shop. Spending time with them helps Apron discover her importance in the world around her.

I don't want to give away any spoilers, which makes it incredibly hard to do this review. Suffice it to say that there are many secrets at play in the book and as they're revealed, the reader's heart is destined to feel a few twangs of sympathy. I clearly remember sitting in our high school auditorium where many of the things Mike and Chad face were covered in what years later would be proven completely untrue. If any reader thinks some of the incidents in this book would never have happened, you're wrong.

If you only read one teen novel this year, Girl Unmoored is the book to read. It's powerful and I really hope it gets some teens thinking about their actions towards themselves and towards others! Jennifer Gooch Hummer is an amazing author, and I will be making sure I'm first in line for her future novels.


  1. thank you for this amazing review Tracy. You hit the nail on the head with this one. thank you for taking the time to read my book!

    1. For anyone reading the comments - partial spoiler ahead...

      I still remember our school pulling all students from class junior year, so that would have been 86/87, for a lecture on HIV/AIDS. One of the messages that went out was that it was a horrifying disease and that research was still uncertain into how it was spread short of the fact that only "drug users and homosexual men" were getting it. They even went on to suggest that there was the possibility that if a mosquito bit you right after biting someone with AIDS, you could get the disease. While they never said it, that certainly suggested that you were better off avoiding anyone using needles or involved in same-sex relationships.

      Given that, while reading your book, that lecture came to mind. Realistically, all that lecture did was cause a panic and any student involved in same-sex relationships, not that I remember anyone letting it be known they were gay, were ridiculed unmercifully.

  2. Tracy, While I'm not fond of giving my age away these days, I too, am a product of the '80s and have many of the same memories. We certainly came of age during a time when the fear of AIDS was spreading faster than the disease itself. This was a chord that struck me as well in reading Girl Unmoored. This is why the book is such a refreshing take on a YA theme--and why it's also relevant to those of us who were teens at that time. Thanks for your thoughtful review of this outstanding book!