Being thirteen is tough enough on its own, but Apron’s troubles are way more extensive than that as presented in Jennifer Gooch Hummer’s Girl Unmoored. Her mom has passed away, and now her dad is in a relationship with Margie, who used to be her mum’s nurse. Margie, or “M,” as Apron refers to her, is from Brazil, and only has a work visa, so Apron is convinced M sees her dad as a meal ticket. To make matters worse, M is mean and her recent announcement that she is pregnant is not making things any better. M wants to get rid of Apron’s guinea pig, The Boss, and Apron’s dad is not much help there.
Even Apron’s best friend, Rennie, has decided it is time to branch out and make new friends, so Apron’s life is lonelier than ever – until Jesus enters it. Oh, not THAT Jesus, just Mike, the actor who plays him in the musical. Mike seems to be everywhere all of a sudden, and after a series of quite interesting encounters, he and his boyfriend Chad offer Apron a summer job at their flower shop. While at first it seems Apron is the one who needs a lot of help and support from them, it shortly becomes apparent that Mike and Chad need her just as much.
Jennifer Gooch Hummer’s Girl Unmoored is a beautifully crafted story about growing up and learning about the world that surrounds you, with all the beautiful and painful experiences that growing up presents to a young person. Apron, the story teller, is a truly unique and very memorable character, and her narrative has a very distinct and completely original voice. While it took me a couple of chapters to truly get into the story, once I got into it, I did not want to put it down, and I finished it the same evening as I started it. I laughed hard, and I cried harder, and when I reached the end, I wished I would have paced myself better, so that the story would not be over yet.
I have very rarely encountered a debut novel that would have touched me so deeply, or one that would have made me think so much. While I was somewhat older than Apron was in the time that the novel is set in (mid 80s), I certainly remember a lot of the issues that defined that time period for many people, and of which I do not want to speak here as not to give away too much of the plot.
I simply can not recommend this book highly enough–for the story, for the incredibly good writing, for the adorable heroine and the cast of supporting characters… If you only read one fiction book this summer, Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer would not be a bad choice.