cover image God Spare the Girls

God Spare the Girls

Kelsey McKinney. Morrow, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-302025-2

Two sisters are rocked by the infidelity of their famous pastor father in McKinney’s promising debut. At the outset, Caroline Nolan is excited to leave for college and is helping her older sister, Abby, prepare for her wedding with Matthew, an oil rig worker. The sisters have always been expected to behave like their father, Luke—gracious and holy—which as a girl Caroline thought was a privilege, but now begins to question. Abby, meanwhile, has helped write her father’s sermons without receiving credit—one of which went viral with Luke encouraging a million teenagers to wear abstinence rings and take purity vows. Caroline secretly loses her virginity and worries her sister is settling for Matthew, whose strong feelings for Abby aren’t completely reciprocated. Then a woman from the congregation confesses to a relationship with Luke, leading the church board to put him on probation. Their mother stands by her man, but the sisters move into a ranch they inherited from their grandmother. As the weeks go by and the wedding nears, the sisters bond over their anger toward their father’s hypocrisy, which escalates with another revelation. While the ending is a bit abrupt, McKinney otherwise successfully wrangles her plot. This stirring debut about faith, secrets, and familial bonds will keep readers turning the pages. Agent: Dana Murphy, the Book Group. (June)