The book opens with the visitation of a ghost and the tragic end of a young girl, Molly who met her demise drowned in Laurel Gray-Hawthorne's backyard swimming pool! The result of an accident or something far more sinister? Laurel is intent on finding out and feels the safety of her daughter may be at stake.
This "murder mystery" cracks the seemingly serene surface of Laurel's gated, peaceful, and perfect life and it spurs her on an introspective journey through her personal history and the state of her present life and relationships. While attempting to unravel the mystery of her daughter's friend's death Laurel discovers she cannot escape her origins and that the secrets she has been keeping do not protect her family but can only serve to create fissures in her relationships.
"If she'd left pieces out, then she'd done it for her family. She'd only been buttoning shut the ugly parts. The things she'd buried were better left that way." (Jackson 2008:223)
But she comes to the harsh realization that living life with blinders on does not vanquish the terrible realities and living a life of seeming perfection without including and embracing the "ugly" is not truly living at all! Sometimes one must stop swimming and drop to the depths to gain perspective an--if ghosts cannot be appeased and sent packing--one can learn instead to co-exist with them; find them a space!
This novel by Joshilyn Jackson is a suspenseful drama wound in mystery and overflowing with the simple wisdom of being true to one's own nature. Laurel--weakened by the cracks forming in her perfect life--seeks out the antithetic, abrupt and affronting force which is embodied by her sister, Thalia. She allows Thalia to take control of not only investigating the death of Molly but also her life and all the intricacies of her relationships. That is until Laurel unearths her own hidden strength and confidence to deal with life on her own terms.
This is a wonderfully engaging and fast flowing novel with a dramatic end which you will reach far too quickly! An exciting summer read which may leave you contemplating the real nature of the many familial relationships in your life!
"the girl who stopped swimming" is written by Joshilyn Jackson and is published by Grand Central Publishing a member of the Hachette Book Group.