The American Girl Buy from other retailers

Publication Date: Feb 16, 2010

528 pp


List Price US: $15.95

ISBN: 978-1-59051-304-0

Trim Size: 5.58 x 8.19 x 1.37 in.


List Price US: $10.99

ISBN: 978-1-59051-383-5

The American Girl

A Novel

“A masterful, thoughtful thriller…A teenager from the United States drowns, her body sucked into the murky water of a marsh in rural Finland. Her distraught lover, a local boy, hangs himself. The couple’s constant sidekick goes mute with grief. A tragic but simple story, yes? Of course not. Nothing is obvious in The American Girl, a deliciously complex novel by award-winning Scandinavian writer Monika Fagerholm. Set in the 1970s, the book is part literary mystery, part sexual coming-of-age story about two lonely local girls, Doris and Sandra, who retreat into a world of their own imaginations, spending hours speculating about the dark details surrounding the American girl’s death. As their bond tightens, Doris suspects that Sandra is hiding a terrible secret. ‘Now I wonder about everything,’ she says. But is Doris just imagining things? And what does Sandra’s secret have to do with the American girl? You’ll know just how Doris feels, but unlike her, you’ll enjoy the suspense.”—O, The Oprah Magazine

“[A] brilliant novel… Fagerholm’s prose is dazzling and dizzying, and the story strange and beautiful…A dark tale of murder, love, sexuality and friendship, The American Girl is the first part of a two-book series. Danger, attraction, belonging and repulsion all have their place in this deeply psychological and highly recommended, challenging and unforgettable mythic story.”—

“Consider yourself warned: This has nothing to do with those popular American Girl dolls. It’s a murder mystery that opens in Coney Island and winds up in Finland. Already a bestseller in Scandinavia, Fagerholm’s tale is of two disparate Finnish girls: shy Sandra (daughter of jetsetters) and wild Doris (her mother hits her). Coming of age in the swampy outskirts of Helsinki, the two become obsessed with the unsolved murder of a woman known a ‘the American girl.’”—New York Post

“[The American Girl] is a coming-of-age story drenched in mysteries, sucking the reader into a dizzying whirlpool of secrets, romances, and deaths. Frequently haunting, sporadically hilarious, and perpetually strange, the reading experience is hypnotically chaotic…the rewards are delightful, unexpected, and profound.”—Sacramento Book Review

“Genuinely gripping…the first of an announced two-volume work. Many readers will eagerly await this richly imagined story’s continuation.”—Kirkus Reviews

“A hypnotic coming-of-age story that hinges on a dark but powerful bond between two Finnish girls growing up in the swamplands of outer Helsinki…Fagerholm’s esoteric prose and her omnipotent narrator’s eye bring to life a world of ambient longings, cryptic memories, and ethereal figures.”—Publishers Weekly

“Murder mystery, fugue, 1970s culture bath, mythic experiment, chronicle of the feminine mystique, Monika Fagerholm’s spiraling tale of two terribly modern girls raising heaven and hell in a seaside town near Helsinki is devilishly daring and breathtakingly original.”—Jenny McPhee, author of A Man of No Moon