The Girl Who Slept with God

Val Brelinski. Viking, $28.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-525-42742-1
In the summer of 1970, just before her 14th birthday, Jory Quanbeck’s father deposits her, along with her sister, Grace, in a small house on the outskirts of Arco, Idaho. As Jory later attempts to explain the situation to their elderly neighbor, Mrs. Kleinfelter, “We’re having some family problems.” Those problems, viewed through Jory’s eyes, are at the center of Brelinski’s intriguing story of a close evangelical Christian family. At age 17, Grace has embraced witnessing for her faith, and she travels with other Garden of Gethsemane Church members on a mission to Mexico. But she is sent home early, pregnant with (she insists) the child of God. Without parental guidance and without Grace paying much attention, Jory makes some bad teenage choices, especially in befriending Grip, the drug-dealing ice cream truck driver, as she tries to make sense of what’s happened to Grace. In her debut novel, Brelinski makes Jory’s solitude nearly palpable and dissects the dynamics of family through Jory’s life on the fringe of society, and the result is fascinating. Agent: P.J. Mark, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/01/2015
Release date: 08/04/2015
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-14-310943-3
Hardcover - 682 pages - 978-1-4104-8497-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio

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