Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl Review

Title: A Psalm for Lost Girls
Author: Katie Bayerl
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Mystery/Thriller
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

I came across an interesting article online about the new books of March, and this book was listed as one of them. I'll be honest, though: that beautiful, creepy cover caught my eye, even before the tantalizing, sparse synopsis. So, in short, this was a recommendation, and I was more than a little apprehensive about it when I realized that faith was a central theme in the book. I have nothing against people who practice it, but because of events in my personal life, I have no idea if I believe in God or not. This resulted in mixed feelings about the book, but it was quite enjoyable nonetheless. A haunting story about family, faith, and the price of grief, with a slow-burn romance and a dark mystery at its center, A Psalm for Lost Girls was simply fantastic! What a promising, thought-provoking debut! I can't wait for more from this hard-hitting author! What a book for 2017!

Callie de Costa (Diverse books for the win, forever! What a touchdown!) is still grieving for her older sister, Tess, even though she passed away a few years ago. She and her mother are still reeling from the loss, each woman dealing with it in her own way. As if losing her big sister weren't enough on her, Tess was also hailed as an honest to God, real-life, modern-day saint. When Callie discovers evidence about Tess's death, she begins to dig deeper, even when it means crossing her mother, the law, and the rest of her neighborhood. But she realizes that, even as she begins to get closer to her sister's boyfriend, that finding out the truth about what really happened to Tess may cost her everything...

This book was amazing. I really enjoyed it. The prose was haunting and beautiful, and I was absolutely spellbound by Callie's voice. I also really liked the themes used in the book: family, coming of age, faith, grief, and first love, even though, at times, it made me uncomfortable. The pacing was breakneck, and I loved the way the book seemed to jump genres. I was honestly surprised when I discovered that A Psalm for Lost Girls was Bayerl's first novel; this book was just so good! I finished it the day before yesterday, and honestly I'm still dumbstruck. Callie's family and friends has carved a permanent place in my heart, and I will never forget them. Also, I loved the way that mental illness was addressed in this book, with an unexpected degree of understanding and sensitivity. And that ending! All the ugly crying! What a great book, with a dark, twisty mystery at its center! As I said, the frank discussion of faith made me uncomfortable, but it wasn't so off-putting that I didn't like the book. The bottom line: A book about faith, grief, and love in all its forms, A Psalm for Lost Girls is a thought-provoking, hard-hitting debut that I loved--highly recommended, especially for mystery fans! Next on deck: The Heartbeats of Wing Jones by Katherine Webber!

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