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The Sea of Lost Girls

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  2,454 ratings  ·  410 reviews
A story set in a prestigious prep school in which one woman’s carefully hidden past might destroy her future.

Tess has worked hard to keep her past buried, where it belongs. Now she’s the wife to a respected professor at an elite boarding school, where she also teaches. Her seventeen-year-old son, Rudy, whose dark moods and complicated behavior she’s long worried about, see
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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Average rating 3.46  · 
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Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: grgiveaways

i'm always attracted to carol goodman's books—they look good and they sound promising, but now, after dating three of them, i can empirically report that we just aren't meant to be. it's for all the usual reasons relationships don't work out—there's no chemistry, no meaningful communication, we're looking for different things; i want to settle down, she's just looking for something casual, although i for sure have cheated on her with numerous other books.

i give all authors three
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Sea of Lost Girls by Carol Goodman is a 2020 William Morrow publication.

Twisty, atmospheric suspense-

After surviving a painful past, Tess married a professor at prestigious boarding school, where she also teaches. Her troubled teenage son, Rudy, seems to be enjoying a period of stability until his girlfriend, Lila is found dead.

Rudy instantly becomes a prime suspect. However, the police are also interested in speaking with Tess's husband, believing he might also have a motive to kill Lila
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Oh, I love a mystery set in prep school!

Tess has a secret past. She’s a teacher and married to a professor of a boarding school, Haywood. Her seventeen-year-old son, Rudy, has had a difficult time, but he’s adjusted and doing well. He has a girlfriend and will be in the school play.

Tess receives a text in the middle of the night. She needs to pick up Rudy, and when she does, he has a stain on his sweatshirt.

Shortly thereafter, she receives a call that Lila, Rudy’s girlfriend, has been found dead
Jasmine from How Useful It Is
Right away I'm liking that the read is fast paced. As soon as the son was introduced and bits of him added on, my interest in him lessened. A troublemaker son would only cause trouble, nothing strange about that. Except secrets from the past slowly revealed and what I thought I knew changed course. Love the twists! Love the legends of the nine sisters and the ice story. The reminder about teacher/student relationship is good. I like the discussions on how far a mother goes protecting her son and ...more
Diane S ☔
A prestigious school that hides many secrets and something even worse. Through the years young girls from the school have gone missing. Only one body ever found. A teacher who was once a student at the school who has many secrets of her own . Her son now attends the school and he has emotional battles of his own. When another young girl is found murdered after the presentation of the play, The Crucible, those who hold secrets are at risk of exposure.

Was quite intrigued with this story, it was so
DJ Sakata
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Favorite Quotes:

I could feel the waves of emotion radiating off her like blast waves from an explosion.

It’s called a tuck box, my mother had told me, it's what all the kids take to boarding school. As if I were going to Hogwarts and not being sent away in shame.

It’s the quickest, lightest touch of the lips on mine, but it shifts something in me, like the moon pulling an internal tide.

My Review:

Goodreads lists twenty-four novels after this talented wordsmith’s name, and shame on me, this is the
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I feel like I have encountered similar books before. A woman’s husband/son is accused of a crime and she fights to protect him. There are secrets involved. In this case, both the husband and the son are suspected of having murdered the son’s girlfriend. The book was readable, but not a standout. There was too much of a women’s fiction vibe for me and I doubt that I would seek out this author in the future.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
"We make our allegories by choosing what part of the story to remember."

The Sea of Lost Girls
by Carol Goodman

It looks like many of my GR friends enjoyed this one more than myself. I will say something that may seem odd, given I did not rate it all that high. I ADORED the writing. It is descriptive and really beautiful. The Sea of Lost Girls takes place in Maine and, man does she nail the atmosphere. I will look for other works by this writer.

But this story just lost me. Tess gets a call in the
Natasha Niezgoda


Ya’ll I’m mad. I just read three 5 STAR books in a row and now I’m down to this... a 2 STAR rating.

Let me explain. You know that one friend who whenever they’re telling a story ALWAYS sounds SUPER defensive and complainy and “woe-is-me” all at the same time. WELL IMAGINE THAT FRIEND IS TELLING YOU A STORY FOR 300 PAGES.


Oh, my HEAVENS! This book (the sea of lost girls) was the epitome of an “everyone failed me” sob story WHEN IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE A CRIME THRILLER?! 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

Like you
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
3.75 stars

The elite boarding school of Haywood in coastal Maine is shrouded in a mystery of disappearing girls over decades. Every time someone is trailing too close into finding out the truth about a possible connection, someone new disappears, so with Lila Zeller.

Girlfriend of her son Rudy, and gifted writer student, Tessa has enjoyed Lila very much around her son and as a student in her class. Leaving her own tumultuous past behind, Tessa remarried Professor Harmon from the school and has wo
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
I had such high hopes for this one as it had everything I could have wanted: murder, remote locations, the sea, a fancy school and {what quickly became apparent} an unreliable narrator.

Tess was an okay MC and that sort of feels like a question. Her inner monologue is manic and I never settled into how she told the story. Her son Rudy is filled with shitty behavior that felt like it was more than just being a teenager and yet Tess accepts everything he does without question. There are several ot
Tessa has started her life over at Haywood, an elite boarding school in coastal Maine. She teaches English there and is married to a well-respected fellow professor, Harmon. Her seventeen-year-old son, Rudy, while troubled in the past, seems to be doing well. This is much in part to his girlfriend, Lila Zeller, a smart and focused teen. But then Tessa gets an early morning text from Rudy, asking her to pick him up. He and Lila had a fight, and Tessa finds him wet and shivering. Later that mornin ...more
This is not my first Carol Goodman novel, but it is by far my favourite. I'm not sure if it's because of the compelling plot or the atmospheric setting, but this book worked for me on just about every level.

The coastal Maine setting was very vivid, probably because the Maine scenery is very similar to that of where I live in Nova Scotia. I've visited Maine many times and love the coast. The fictional boarding school of Haywood was also very easy for me to picture in my mind.

Tess, her family, fri
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Lies, secrets, and cover-ups abound in THE SEA OF LOST GIRLS.

Tess would do anything for her son, Rudy....even lie FOR him and lie TO him.

Rudy has always been a problem, and Tess always defended her son even though her husband, Harmon, complained about it.

Tess and Harmon taught at the school Rudy was attending and lived ten minutes off campus. Both Tess and Harmon have things to hide, but what are they? Do they have anything to do with the death of Lila?

After Lila was found dead, Tess has to re-l
Oct 07, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally readable, with interesting made up folklore running through it, this is compelling while you are reading but almost instantly forgettable once put down. Lots of potential in the writing but it just doesn't quite hold together. It doesn't help that, bar the police detective, it's hard to find anyone to root for, with the majority of the cast being either unlikable or two-dimensional with the protagonist falling somewhere between the two.
Cookie cutter and forgettable.

A helicopter mom gets a phone call from her 18yo at 3am: come get me, I'm at the safe place. She rushes to meet him at a pre-arranged spot near a deadly seaside cliff (they call this a "safe place"??) He's upset about a fight he had with his girlfriend. When said girlfriend turns up dead at the base of the cliff the next morning, mom moves heaven and earth to throw police off her son's scent, without giving a second's thought as to whether he may have pushed her ove
Farshana ❤️rainnbooks❤️

The Sea of Lost Girls by Carol Goodman begins with a similarity to The Lake of Dead Languages which I had read quite recently. It had same boarding school scenario on the edge of a lake, same set up of an alumni teacher, a teacher with a disturbing past and hidden lies surrounded by legends and missing girls that until about 30% into the story I never felt invested. But Carol Goodman then surprised me by revealing Tess’s ugly past early into the story and from then on, it was an engrossing and c


The narration by Natalie Naudus may have or may not have been at fault for my lack of enthusiasm for this book. I would be willing to try another book with her narrating to find out, though.

I found this to be overall...uninspiring, unengaging, and predictable...and I'm basically unmotivated to say anything more about this.

Narration ➯ 3½ STARS
Plot ➯
MaryannC. Book Freak
This didn't thrill me as much I had hoped it would. It had it's moments where it really grabbed me then at times it fell flat. I guess I wasn't feeling it.
Kristin (Always With a Book)
This is the first book I've read by Carol Goodman but it certainly will not be the last. I was captivated from the first page and completely engaged all the way through.

I love a good atmospheric novel and this one has it in spades. Set on the Maine coastland, it just amped up the tension and I found it to be effective here. On top of that, the boarding school with it's legends and ghost stories that have been passed down through the generations just gave the story an extra layer of intrigue tha
Tess run away with her teacher and got pregnant at the age of 17. Now 18 years later she is a teacher herself. She is married to Harmon, a mother of a 17-year-old son, Rudy. One night she gets a message from her son "Can you come get me?". She goes to collect him. Next morning she hears that Ruby's girlfriend has been found dead on the beach, not far from the place she picked up Rudy mere hours before...AND she was tutored by her husband, Harmon.

Sexual predation on young vulnerable women is dif
Penny Van Horn
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grabs you right away and won't let go! Be sure to have time to finish the whole book in one or two sittings! I read late into the night.
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it

The Sea of Lost Girls has a very catchy beginning that hooked me right away. Tess gets a call from her teenage son, Rudy, in the middle of the night asking her to come pick him up. The situation surrounding why he wants to be picked up is suspicious, considering his clothes are wet. We quickly learn that her son’s girlfriend has been found murdered close to the area where Rudy was picked up and for a minute there, Rudy looks guilty.

His stepfather looks guilty too. So do a couple of the othe
Michelle Kenneth -
This gripped me from the very beginning. I couldn't put it down. This book reminds me a lot of "The Woman in Cabin 10" and "My Dark Vanessa."

It reminded me of "The Woman in Cabin 10" because you don't know what's going on. In Ruth Ware's book, the lead character is either drunk or drugged. She doesn't know what's what and she's trying to see through her drunken lens. In "The Sea of Lost Girls," the reader is the one trying to see through the haze, because Tess lies all of the time. Her story is
Fiction Addition Angela
Tess has worked hard to keep her past buried, where it belongs. Now she’s the wife to a respected professor at an elite boarding school, where she also teaches. Her seventeen-year-old son, Rudy, whose dark moods and complicated behavior she’s long worried about, seems to be thriving: he has a lead role in the school play and a smart and ambitious girlfriend. Tess tries not to think about the mistakes she made eighteen years ago, and mostly, she succeeds.
So how does Tess really feel when her son
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Sea of Lost Girls was the first book that I have read by Carol Goodman. I would definitely look to read some of her earlier books now. Overall I enjoyed reading The Sea of Lost Girls. It was fast paced and for the most part kept me guessing and changing my mind about what final outcome of the story would be. There were a lot of twists along the way. Carol Goodman's character development was good as well. I found it hard to put down once I started reading it. I loved how the ending came toget ...more
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tess has worked hard to keep her past buried, where it belongs. Now she’s the wife to a respected professor at an elite boarding school, where she also teaches. Her seventeen-year-old son, Rudy, whose dark moods and complicated behavior she’s long worried about, seems to be thriving: he has a lead role in the school play and a smart and ambitious girlfriend. Tess tries not to think about the mistakes she made eighteen years ago, and mostly, she succeeds.

And then one more morning she gets a text
Chris Hall
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a beautifully written and gripping novel.
I'd eagerly anticipated reading this, as I am a fan of Carol Goodman's novels. I wasn't quite sure at first: I found the narrator overly cloying in her attitude towards her son, but as the story unfolded, the reason became clear. The pace of the novel becomes increasingly fast-moving and a couple of twists add to the suspense and surprise. The setting is evocative and atmospheric, and more than a hint of myth is woven into the narrative. I was a
Kelly  Russo Reviews
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was more of a really good mystery than it was a thriller. Tess was a well written protagonist and a mother we can all relate to when it comes to protecting our kids no matter what age even when it comes to suspicion of murder at prestigious school where over the years wayward girls have gone missing. The past of the missing "lost girls" and the murder of a new victim make this suspenseful book well worth reading. Don't let this one slip by you.
Reading Mama
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know what I love? I love a good mystery set in a prep school! Goodreads calls The Sea of Lost Girls a "twisty, harrowing story set at a prestigious prep school in which one woman’s carefully hidden past might destroy her future" in the "tradition of Shari Lapena, Michelle Richmond, and Daphne du Maurier". The synopsis is in the comments! I really enjoyed this one. It was a rather easy read- short chapters, fast-paced, only a few characters- a perfect weekend read. I loved the setting , which ...more
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Madison County NC...: The Sea of Lost Girls 1 5 May 08, 2020 11:14AM  

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Carol Goodman is the author of The Lake of Dead Languages, The Seduction of Water, which won the Hammett Prize, and The Widow's House, which won the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She is also the co-author, with her husband Lee Slonimsky, of the Watchtower fantasy trilogy. Her work has appeared in such journals as The Greensboro Review, Literal Latte, The Midwest Quarterly, and Other Voices. After grad ...more

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