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Girl Unmoored

Girl Unmoored

4.7 25
by Jennifer Gooch Hummer

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Apron Bramhall has come unmoored. It's 1985 and her mom has passed away, her evil stepmother is pregnant, and her best friend has traded her in for a newer model. Fortunately, she's about to be saved by Jesus. Not that Jesus—the actor who plays him in Jesus Christ, Superstar. Apron is desperate to avoid the look-alike Mike (no one should look that much like


Apron Bramhall has come unmoored. It's 1985 and her mom has passed away, her evil stepmother is pregnant, and her best friend has traded her in for a newer model. Fortunately, she's about to be saved by Jesus. Not that Jesus—the actor who plays him in Jesus Christ, Superstar. Apron is desperate to avoid the look-alike Mike (no one should look that much like Jesus unless they can perform a miracle or two), but suddenly he's everywhere. Until one day, she's stuck in church with him—of all places. And then something happens; Apron's broken teenage heart blinks on for the first time since she's been adrift.

Mike and his grumpy boyfriend, Chad, offer her a summer job in their flower store, Apron's world seems to calm. But when she uncovers Chad's secret, coming of age becomes almost too much bear. She's forced to see things the adults around her fail to—like what love really means and who is paying too much for it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Middle school is purgatory for Apron Bramhall. Her mother is dead. Her best friend Rennie has fallen under the spell of the local Queen Bee. Margie (aka "M"), the Brazilian nurse who cared for her late parent, has literally moved in on her depressed Latin professor father, all the while trying to dispose of Apron's beloved pet guinea pig. It's a classic case of things can't get worse, but they do quickly in this fast-paced bildungsroman set in 1980s coastal Maine. When Dad announces his plans to marry the devious M—a prospect that excites no one—the 7th-grader has to grow up quickly. But the ruckus she inadvertently causes at their hastily arranged church wedding propels her literally headlong into the lives of Mike and Chad,a gay couple who run a local flower shop and are coming to terms with their own struggles. The bittersweet story of their friendship and the young adolescent's gradual understanding and acceptance of their doomed relationship is infused with love and punctuated with wry good humor. The rapid fire dialogue helps along an ambitious first novel that's best suited to young adults. Less successfully, Hummer tries to evoke coastal Maine, but the local attitudes on display here say more about the era, and less about the place—references to lobsters and a sprinkling of eccentrics aside. Apron may be adrift, but Hummer's debut is on track. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
"Love, loss, and the coming of age of one remarkable girl blaze through this haunting debut like a shooting star you'd wish upon. It's tough and tender, funny and smart, and it frankly took my breath away. I loved it."
– Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

"To borrow one of Apron’s phrases, this book rings the doorbell of my heart." – Gayle Brandeis, author of My Life with the Lincolns and Delta Girls

Product Details

Fiction Studio, The
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Gooch Hummer received her B.A. in English from Kenyon College. She lives in Los Angeles and Maine with her husband, their three daughters, and their dog, Apple. Girl Unmoored is her first novel.

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Girl Unmoored 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
BauerH More than 1 year ago
GIRL UNMOORED is a triumph. Enough said. I could go on and on about the characters in here. From Grandma Bramhall to M to Mike and Chad, I fell like I've known every one of these characters. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My friend lent me the paperback version and i absolutely loved it. She read it, then me, then another friend, and then another. No one has gotten through it without crying. The girl who owns it finished it in silent reading in school. She came to lunch red faced and crying because it was over. This book is very good and i recommend it to anyone.
anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
Apron Bramhall (yes that’s her name, Apron) is a girl unmoored. She recently suffered the loss of her mom, and now her father is preoccupied with his new girlfriend “M”, and her bff, Rennie has dumped her for a chance to be more popular. What Apron really wants is someone to save her…and who better than Jesus. More like Mike, an actor who plays Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar. Mike and his boyfriend Chad show up in Apron’s life when she needs it the most. They are there for her when no one else seems to be. They hire her to help them out in their flower shop. The biggest truth is Apron seems to be the only one who understands what love really means and everyone around her needs her to help guide them back to safe waters. What a great book. I personally find coming of age books to really be hit or miss and this was a hit. Apron is one of those characters you just can’t help but root for and I can honestly say I was frustrated by the adults around her. But here’s the thing, all the adult characters were so well written that as an adult you get that they are struggling with their own lives and problems. I simply fell in love with Apron. As a momma, I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and be there for her. My heart just broke for her, as she was trying so hard to maneuver all the troubled waters of her life. Most of the adults in her life never stopped to really see how she was fairing. I found Girl Unmoored to gives a glimpse into a young girl’s life during a turbulent time in her life, and how we as adults become so involved with ourselves we forget to check in with those around us. I laughed, I cried, I loved Girl Unmoored. When I closed the book, I hope Jennifer Gooch Hummer writes about Apron again!
RobertDowns More than 1 year ago
Had the voice not captured my attention faster than a tiger in a cage at the local zoo, GIRL UNMOORED would have been a three star read for me. But the voice spoke to me louder than a teenager projecting for the stage six inches from my face with spittle and grunts angled in at the appropriate moments for emphasis. Apron Bramhall proved as unique as her name, her red hair sticking out beyond her head, her choice of phrase more precocious than her thirteen years, and her spirit lifted high above the rafters. I fell in love with her voice amidst 330 pages of prose, and I didn’t come up for air until I gasped for breath at the bittersweet ending, at once saddened and dismayed that she and I must now part ways. Revisiting middle school with Apron by my side, I blew raspberries at Jenny Pratt, puckered my lips for Johnny Berman and prepared for a kiss adjacent to the swing set, considered shoving Marguerite (better known as M) down the stairs, hoping she might end up with a one-way ticket back to Brazil, became best friends with Mike and Chad Weller, and helped The Boss, who twitches more than most guinea pigs, run laps around my bed. Portland, Maine never sounded so good even if I did have to take a bus across the 88 all the way to Bramhall Street, and I managed to forget enough money for the fare, staring at my toes with a sheepish grin on my face, as my cheeks flashed from red to purple. Discovering Apron, who managed to blush more than I do, brought back a bit of the youthful awkwardness I had long since usurped, but I must say I rather enjoyed the ride. And if I were in roller coaster heaven, I would have hopped right back on the ride and enjoyed the dips and spins and turns and climbs all over again. Robert Downs Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
BeachRead245 More than 1 year ago
Welcome back to the 80s! Thank you to BookSparks PR and Fiction Studio Books for sending me a copy to share with you. I am glad to share Jennifer Gooch Hummer’s novel Girl Unmoored. Synopsis: Apron lives in Maine and has recently lost her mother. The new woman in her dad’s life M may not be what she seems. M seems to enjoy wreaking havoc in Apron’s life. As Apron goes through the year and goes what will she discover about herself? How will she survive her mother’s death? Then there is life at school. What will she do without her best friend Rennie? My Thoughts: Girl Unmoored is a beautiful moving tale about a girl named Apron and her experiences. The novel is told from the perspective of a thirteen year old’s world. I felt that it was written well. Also it is set in the 1980s. Who doesn’t remember that time in their life? I know I look upon it with fond memories. The main themes in the story are second marriages by the father, gay and lesbian issues, and peer pressure at the middle school level. This novel was not one of my personal favorites. Although it was written well, I just couldn’t get interested in the story. I did not connect with Apron’s experiences. I know that this novel is very popular, but I am afraid it was a miss for Writer’s Corner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JBlake More than 1 year ago
Coming of Age is my favorite genre and now Apron is one of my favorite characters. She's wise beyond her years but still a kid. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mike and Chad and Apron - I love all of them. This book is so so good. I'm telling everyone I know who loves to read as much as me to get this book! 
TatumGH More than 1 year ago
I heard so much about this book so I finally read it. It's amazing. I'm going to give it to my school library cuz there's alot of kids who should read this. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am so glad I found this book. I am totally in love with Apron. Please write a sequel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very well-written and engaging story. I couldn't put it down - stayed up all night reading it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best coming-of-age books I've ever read. Apron character is so believable I can't stop thinking about what she is doing right now. Mike and Chad's characters will make you laugh and cry at the same time.  I want this to be a movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a great book. Couldn't put it down. Loved the story line ... very heartfelt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very touching story and Apron is going to become one of your favorite characters...ever! I can see this book rising to the top for book club picks. Would love to see the author continue Apron's story:)
Reader_Views More than 1 year ago
Incredibly good writing Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (7/12) 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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great! I laughed out loud and had a few tears roll down my cheek. I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Abolutely amazing!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe this book was free. I couldn't put it down...it's 3 am and I just finished. I'll definitely read it again!
Amabe421 More than 1 year ago
This book is not a book that I would have picked up on my own I don't think. The overview sounds good and it has a pretty cover, but it's nothing that really would grab my attention. That being said, I LOVED this book. It was beautiful and heartbreaking. It has some very serious issues in it, and a really great message. A few actually. I was immediately immersed in Apron's life and hoped needed to know that things would work out for her. This thirteen year old girl goes through so much in a few months and she still manages to hold it together. She is a very strong character, but she is also still just a young girl. This book made my heart ache. Apron is such a great character. She is missing her mother who died, dealing with her new step mother who happens to be pregnant, and pretty much hates Apron and her father doesn't really help matters. He is forever siding with M as Apron calls her. She has lost her best friend to the popular girl and in general just feels so alone and sad. She ends up befriending Mike who owns a flower shop with his boyfriend Chad and after a while ends up helping them out there. This isn't without other complications though. Things at home aren't great, and the secret that Chad has is making things difficult at the flower shop too. If I was in Apron's situation there is no way I could have handled myself the way she does. Apron's father is a Latin professor and tends to be really busy with school stuff even at home so he is more of an absent parent. It's not that he's not around, but he isn't there for Apron when she needs him mentally. He fails to see how horrible M is to her. He doesn't see how much Apron needs to know that he loves her and will be there for her. That he hasn't forgotten her for M and the new sibling that will be coming. Mike and Chad are really great. I couldn't help but feel that if I were Apron's parent I wouldn't really feel comfortable with her hanging out with two grown men, gay or not, but I am really glad that she became friends with them and they became such a big part of her life. I loved how they were with her. They didn't treat her like a little girl. They would mention how she was a kid, but they respected her. Chad and Apron got a long great. They would spend hours together reading or telling jokes. Mike is a bit more serious, but he was still really great and if Apron needed something he was there for her. Aside from them there are other really great characters and them some that I didn't care for much. I loved her grandmother. She was a riot. I didn't really like Rennie, Apron's ex BFF, but at that age that's just the way girls are. It was sad that Apron didn't really have any other friends, but if she did, I don't think that things would have developed the way the did with Mike and Chad. I also liked that the neighbors were brought into the story too. This story was so touching and also heart shattering. As much as I knew what was coming it didn't stop me from bawling my eyes out. I literally had to put down the book and compose myself before I continued, only to start crying pages later. It was very emotional because of how invested I was in the story. I tend to be a very emotional reader so I expected that. What I didn't expect was that days later, even now, these characters are in my head. I just really loved this book. It is a beautiful and touching story that will stay with you.
Andreat78 More than 1 year ago
GIRL UNMOORED is a coming of age story set in the 1980s. That alone earned my rapt attention. Then you have the first line: "Jesus was in his underwear."(pg.9) That line, of course, made me think "Wha...?", but I also laughed. I never expected, though, to be so personally moved by the story. GIRL UNMOORED reminded me in a way of a movie, maybe My Girl. The story isn't the same, or even similar. It's more of a feeling portrayed, or brought back. This story is the summer of a young, impressionable girl whose world is shifted and who learns and teaches those around her about real love. This isn't a love story in the romantic sense. It is love in a human sense. Apron (the name is explained, so don't panic, people) is thirteen. I immediately adored her and wanted to smother her in love. But she became a rock star to me because she is a devoted Laura Ingalls Wilder fan and reads the Little House on the Prairie series repeatedly. She is motherless, her father is distracted by her evil stepmother, her best friend has dumped her. Apron has lost her faith. She's drifting, until she meets Mike and Chad. Mike and Chad are proof that love has no defining factors. It's 1985 and many are afraid of gay men, particularly the ones who are sick. They are subjected to homophobia, violence, discrimination. The love exhibited between them, the kindness, the devotion in the face of the toughest obstacle of all, is inspiring. I dare anyone to read this book and say that a love like Mike and Chad's is wrong. They become the anchor Apron needs. They take Apron in and embrace her in a way that causes her to blossom. GIRL UNMOORED is a beautifully, bittersweet story of love; the most basic, human love. I could not put it down. I was captivated by Apron's voice. To see the world through her view was poignant. I giggled at Mike and Chad, I raged at Evil Stepmother, I rolled my eyes at the ex-bff. And I cried, so hard. I count myself lucky to have read GIRL UNMOORED. Favorite Quotes: My favorite quote is near the end of the story. To share it would give too much away. It made me sob. "The church smelled like leftover tears. Sadness was tucked into corners and hidden under beams and pasted so thick on the walls that it was hard to breathe." (pg.55) "Being this close to Mike made the cramp in my heart loosen up a bit, like the shingles were falling off of it." (pg.136)
Chrissy_W More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable coming of age book! Did I enjoy this book: I really did. In fact, the first thing I said to my husband when I finished this book was "that was a really good book." Plain and simply put. I read this book every free chance I had...I put off household chores in order to read this book. I could not put it down. When I had to put it down, all I wanted to do was pick it back up again. Girl Unmoored is told from the perspective of 13 year old Apron Bramhall. To have gone through everything that Apron has gone through in her 13 years and yet still have an innocence to her narrative was remarkable. That innocence should not have been there...but it was and it was great. There were moments in this book where I laughed out loud, moments where I just shook my head, and moments where I wanted to cry. So many emotions, so well written by Ms. Hummer. The story moved and kept me interested. Most of the characters were likeable and loveable. The trio - Apron, Mike, and Chad - were my favorites. They worked so well together. Their friendship was unlikely and should have been strained...but it wasn't and they were meant to be friends, you could tell. Grandma Bramhall was a trip. I just laughed when I read the parts with her. Some characters were really unlikeable. M was one of the unlikeable characters. I couldn't believe her and the things that she said and did...to herself and to Apron. This book left me with a smile and a happy sigh at the end. Much like middle school drama, all eventually works out in some way in the end. Would I recommend it: I would, absolutely. Girl Unmoored was a great read, well worth it. Will I read it again: I'm not sure. I really enjoyed it but I don't know that it is a re-readable book for me. Only time will tell if I will reread this wonderfully written book. I know that I will definitely read any other book that Ms. Hummer writes in the future.
Buried-in-Books More than 1 year ago
This is an emotional roller coaster ride about growing up and learning hard lessons in life and about finding friendship in unexpected places. It's about prejudices and awkward teenage years and about loss and love. There is a little bit of humor, but knowing what is coming, there is a prevailing sense of sadness overall. The main character, Apron has lost everything in her life and finds friendship in two young men, Chad and Mike. Chad has full blown AIDS something Apron knows very little about other than newspaper stories as its the Regan era and it's just beginning to make the headlines. The novel takes place over one summer in which Apron learns so much about the adult world, things that cause her to grow up and look at life differently. She has a stepmother that is pregnant who she won't even call by her real name, but calls her "M". Her stepmother hates her, but the feelings are mutual. Her father always takes her stepmother's side. Her best friend dumped her. She's being forced to get rid of her beloved guinea pig. Life can't get much worse...can it? This is a great book for lover's of Contemporary YA fiction.
Lilac_Wolf More than 1 year ago
A Lilac Wolf and Stuff Review Did you see that? The main character is named Apron. And the story behind that was hilarious. She was supposed to be named April but her father disagreed so her mother wrote it on the Birth Certificate so intelligibly that the powers that be thought it said Apron...you'd think someone would have asked! Apron is a young teenage girl who is waiting to develop. Her mother is out of the picture and her father is shacking up with a nurse aide from Brazil who also hates Apron...although she seems to kind of hate everyone but wants a green card. My heart is breaking for her from the very beginning. To lose your mother when you are already feeling awkward. If you think that is bad enough, it gets worse. It also gets better. It takes place in the 80s...remember when Aids was new and gay bashing was acceptable behavior. It certainly was a reminder how far we have come...granted not far enough, but still. She befriends a gay couple who are dealing with their own problems, mostly a less than welcoming community. Seriously give this a read, it was a wonderful story that I just couldn't put it down. I felt a kinship with Apron because I lost my father when I was young and I am quite clumsy too. I could read more about Apron as she grows up. But that isn't how these chick lit books work.