When Clare and her daughters Grace and Pip move into a close knit apartment complex, it doesn’t take long until more than one family’s life is changed. As sisters, Grace and Pip are very close in age, almost twins in looks, but couldn’t have more different personalities. The summer Grace turns 13, Pip can feel her sister slipping away from her–but neither could have imagined what would happen to Grace that night in the park.
The author does a fantastic job at setting the atmosphere. The entirety of the book takes place within the apartment complex, which looks out on to a spacious green park. The kids in the complex have all grown up together, and throwing two new girls into the mix when everyone is highly hormonal and going through a lot of changes definitely makes for some sparks. The parents believe their kids are safe though, and so the teens and tweens are pretty much given free reign.
It’s actually hard to believe this novel takes place in the present day; the parents are all pretty relaxed and don’t give their kids as much supervision as most do these days. This novel does take place in Britain, though, so maybe it’s just a different social aspect than I am used to.
The “Girls” of the title could really refer to any or all of the characters mentioned within, not just the group of 12 and 13 year olds that the story revolves around. The kids’ mothers are girlish in some ways. There is also a story of a girl who was found dead in the very same park where they all gather.
I moved through the novel rather quickly wanting to find out who had hurt Grace. Though the author tries to distract you with several red herrings, you don’t really see the end coming–at least I didn’t.
I took some stars away from my review because at times, the unnecessary backstories and character histories made the paragraphs feel too heavy. I was also not satisfied with the way the book ended, with the culprit not really being punished at all.
The Girls in the Garden is a great read for insight into the minds of teenage girls. Don’t go into it expecting a perfect story and you may enjoy it.
Carrie runs the blog Sweet Southern Home, and is a stay at home wife and mom to one little boy. When she’s not reading, she’s usually watching Netflix with her husband, playing outside with her son, or baking. Her family would describe her as sometimes annoyingly sarcastic, but mostly lovable.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Atria Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.