cover image Girl Gone Mad

Girl Gone Mad

Avery Bishop. Lake Union, $14.95 trade paper (412p) ISBN 978-1-5420-1871-5

The pseudonymous Bishop’s uneven debut finds a psychologist trying to redeem herself for wrongs committed in her adolescence. In middle school, Emily Bennett and five other girls formed a club nicknamed the Harpies after the beasts of mythology. Emily and the others invited Grace Farmer into their group only to bully her. After a failed suicide attempt, Grace and her mother left town. Fourteen years later, Emily is a psychologist treating troubled children in Lanton, Pa. Two of the original six Harpies have recently committed suicide, and Emily and Courtney, another club mate, decide to look into why their friends did so. Clues suggest that Grace may finally be exacting her revenge. Emily and Courtney get in touch with the remaining Harpies, who are targeted in turn by someone out to ruin them. The various twists lead to an ending that will surprise few. Bishop takes a thoughtful look at the long-term effects of bullying, but readers will struggle to engage with these superficial characters. Those expecting emotional depth will be disappointed. Agent: Tess Callero, Europa Content. (Aug.)