The American Girl

The American Girl

by Kate Horsley


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From a bright new talent comes a riveting psychological thriller about an American exchange student in France involved in a suspicious accident, and the journalist determined to break the story and uncover the dark secrets a small town is hiding.

On a quiet summer morning, seventeen-year-old American exchange student Quinn Perkins stumbles out of the woods near the small French town of St. Roch. Barefoot, bloodied, and unable to say what has happened to her, Quinn’s appearance creates quite a stir, especially since the Blavettes—the French family with whom she’s been staying—have mysteriously disappeared. Now the media, and everyone in the idyllic village, are wondering if the American girl had anything to do with her host family’s disappearance.

Though she is cynical about the media circus that suddenly forms around the girl, Boston journalist Molly Swift cannot deny she is also drawn to the mystery and travels to St. Roch. She is prepared to do anything to learn the truth, including lying so she can get close to Quinn. But when a shocking discovery turns the town against Quinn and she is arrested for the murders of the Blavette family, she finds an unlikely ally in Molly.

As a trial by media ensues, Molly must unravel the disturbing secrets of the town’s past in an effort to clear Quinn’s name, but even she is forced to admit that the American Girl makes a very compelling murder suspect. Is Quinn truly innocent and as much a victim as the Blavettes—or is she a cunning, diabolical killer intent on getting away with murder…?

Told from the alternating perspectives of Molly, as she’s drawn inexorably closer to the truth, and Quinn’s blog entries tracing the events that led to her accident, The American Girl is a deliciously creepy, contemporary, twisting mystery leading to a shocking conclusion.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594826866
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/02/2016
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 524,495
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kate Horsley’s first novel, The Monster’s Wife, was shortlisted for the Scottish First Book of the Year Award. Her poems and short fiction have appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Best British Crime Stories. She coedits Crimeculture, a site dedicated to crime fiction and film offering articles, reviews, and interviews with writers.

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The American Girl 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really amazing
Twink More than 1 year ago
The American Girl by Kate Horsley has just released. Seventeen year old American Quinn Perkins has travelled to France to participate in an exchange program with the Blavettes, a French family. Seemingly normal - until Quinn stumbles out of the woods "barefoot, bloodied and unable to say what has happened to her." And the host family is missing... So, what has gone on? What happened to Quinn? Where are the Blavettes? Journalist Molly Swift wants answers to those questions. With Quinn in a coma, Molly lies about who she is and inserts herself into both Quinn's life and the police investigation. Horsley starts things off with a good premise, reminding me somewhat of the case of Amanda Knox. Horsley fills in the blanks in a back and forth, then and now narrative that jumps around, juxtaposing Quinn's arrival at the Blavettes with the current day investigation. I don't see that this book is being marketed to the teen crowd. For me, it definitely had the feel of a young adult novel, rather than an adult "riveting psychological thriller". I grew weary of Quinn's obsessing about the oldest son, her bad choices and her acceptance of things. And Quinn's father? Completely unbelievable. The police investigation was quite flawed and highly unbelievable in my opinion. The video diary of Quinn recovering her memories was a great plot device though. Molly Swift I liked - a lot. She could carry a story on her own. Her deceptions didn't bother me in the least - most likely because I just didn't like or connect with the lead character Quinn. The romantic interest with the lead detective seemed extraneous and stilted though - it could have been left out. The Blavettes, especially Emelie, are overdrawn and their actions overtly obvious. Yes, we know there's something up with the family, but a subtler hand would have raised the tension just as well. Horsley does inject a nice twist at the end - one that was fairly well telegraphed - but still, a good ending. I found the final reveal of the reasons behind the crimes, town, police and the family overwrought, overdone and overly lurid. The American Girl was just an okay read for me - I followed through to the end to see if my suspicions were correct.
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jmcgarry More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. This book is the story of Quinn Perkins, an American exchange student living in France in 2015. One night, she is found by some German tourists stumbling around outside after being hit by a car. She winds up in the hospital. Video of the accident goes viral on the Internet, drawing the attention of a TV reporter, Molly Swift. As the investigation unfolds, it is discovered that Quinn's host family has disappeared, with no explanation. Suspicion falls on Quinn, that she may be responsible for this. Is Quinn a victim or a villain? Or is the truth somewhere in the middle? I don't want to give away too much, because of spoilers. It was an intriguing novel. The point of view shifts back and forth between Quinn and Molly. Early on, Molly is taken as Quinn's relative, which gives her more access to the story. Quinn's story is told in flashbacks, with a video log and her own blog. This works to add to the suspense, to keep you guessing. There are some details to keep this going. For example, Molly goes out to the house to find a creepy old caretaker out there. Part of me thought that this is how Scooby-Doo cartoons usually started. "I'd have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!" But that was a minor distraction. All in all, this was a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The American Girl is a well written, gripping psychological thriller set in a small town in the South of France. A young American girl who is visiting as an exchange student is involved in a terrible accident which leaves her in a coma. The host family she was staying with disappears at the same time. There is some suspicion on the American girl, Quinn, from the start - it could be that she herself has done something bad to the family. Molly Swift, a journalist from Boston, who will do anything to get to the truth behind the story, begins to investigate, the case and as she does she gets drawn into Quinn's life and finds herself not sure whether she believes the girl to be guilty or innocent. Both Molly and Quinn are well drawn characters, and the mystery is keeps you turning the pages. The novel has a spooky feel, downright creepy at times - as in the caves - and surprises readers with dark, unexpected twists. A suspenseful, very enthralling read.
Suspense_fan64 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed The American Girl by Kate Horsley. It is a suspenseful psychological thriller with well-developed characters and a mystery that will keep you guessing till the end. It is set in France and the two characters, Quinn and Molly both give unreliable narratives which is part of what keeps you from working out the twists and turns. The novel was quite dark and chilling at times, which is good if you enjoy mysteries like that. All in all, a gripping read. I would recommend this book for fans of Paula Hawkins and Ruth Ware.
beckybh More than 1 year ago
Promising author, good writing, poor arrangement THE AMERICAN GIRL by Kate Horsley is a psychological thriller set in France in the present day. American exchange student Quinn Perkins is spending a summer in St. Roch hoping to become fluent in French. At the beginning of the story, she is in the local hospital trying to remember what happened to her. Reports state she was running out of the woods, barefoot and in a torn white dress, trying to flag down a motorist. Instead, she was run down and left her for dead. She has no memory of her life before the accident, and the psychologist gives her a videocam to record whatever thoughts come to her in hopes she will remember what happened. Molly Swift is a Boston reporter who is just one of many descending into St. Roch to discover what has happened to Quinn and her missing host family, the Blavettes: Emilie, the weird ex-schoolteacher mother; Emilie's daughter, sullen teenager Noemie; and, Emilie's son, Raphael, a handsome, irresistable Sorbonne student. Molly gets close to Quinn by saying she's Quinn's aunt. And since Quinn's family hasn't bothered to visit her in the hospital, Molly hopes she can find the truth about what happened to the American student and the Blavettes before her ruse is discovered. I've had some difficulty in how to rate this story. I started with 4.5 stars because, on the one hand, the narrative is well-written and definitely amps up the tension. However, the constant back and forth between time frames is confusing. At the beginning of almost every chapter, I had to flick back through the book to remember where I was in the timeline. I felt like I needed a complicated series of arrows, loops and stars on a whiteboard calendar to figure out where I should be in the story. And then there was the too-long length of some chapters. After a while I felt compelled to forget about 75 pages and read the last 50 pages. Once I was assured that the ending was worth pursuing, I went back and read the 75 pages I skipped. My final deciding factor was the heavy use of cigarette smoking by every character in the book. Not that cigarette smoking, itself, should be a reason for decrease in rating. But I feel that the overuse of this habit in the book was basically filler for the actual story. Lots of space was used up in the narrative by people lighting, inhaling, and fiddling with cigarettes (and some weed). Plus, I couldn't help feeling disgusted by the idea that the characters constantly stunk of cigarettes--their breath, their bodies and their surroundings. The overuse of cigarette smoking did nothing for the story. Instead, I think it hindered the psychological buildup to the twist at the end of the book. Overall, I think the author has a good writing style with strong characters. She is worth watching, and I will definitely read her future books. But with the timeline all over the place and the filler-ish use of smoking, I can give THE AMERICAN GIRL only 3 stars. If You Like This, You Might Like: GONE GIRL and SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn, MORGANS OF NASHVILLE and TEXAS RANGERS series by Mary Burton, FBI THRILLER BOOKS by Catherine Coulter, LUCY KINCAID NOVELS by Allison Brennan, DARKNESS by Karen Robards * Read my other reviews on the Blue Moon Mystery Saloon blog. ** An e-galley was provided by William Morrow/HarpersCollin and Edelweiss for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did not read the book.