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The Girl Who Stopped Swimming

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3.46  ·  Rating details ·  9,749 Ratings  ·  1,305 Reviews
Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the literal family skeleton stays in the closet or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class n ...more
ebook, 225 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2008)
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Julia
Apr 30, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I happened to glance at the wildly diverse ratings/reviews on goodreads about this book, because I was kind of torn about a rating for it. I haven't read any of Jackson's other books, and I've never seen The Ghost Whisperer, but my feeling was that the story was a bit soap-y, and didn't fully realize itself as any one kind of book. Sometimes, that's ok.
Laurel Hawthorne lives in a gated community called Victorianna, raising a daughter, Shelby, with her husband David. One night, the ghost of a nei
...more
Tracy
May 01, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fonda
Apr 29, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the other two but reading this one was like watching a predictable Lifetime movie. I too thoughtit was too Ghost Whispery. If you are going to the trouble to put a ghost into a book then at least be original. Duh. Another thing that bugged me was the folksy language. I don't think people in the modern South really talk or act this way. This book was set in the Panhandle but Laurel, etc talked like characters from the other books that were set in Georgia. ZZZZZZZZZ. Forced myself to keep re ...more
Tania
Sep 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Just what I needed - a quick easy read, requiring little to no brain power. That said I have to admit that I did not see the ending coming. I see that a lot of people complain about the fact that this author's characters are very much stereotypes, I have to agree, but for me that is one of the things I like about her books. I go in knowing exactly what to expect. I also liked that she is not scared of writing strong, difficult woman. Perfect beach read.
Jess Van Dyne-Evans
I was so excited for this book. SO excited.

I loved gods In Alabama (I've re-read it, which I don't usually do) and really, really liked Between, Georgia.

And then this book was really hard to get through.

Well, that's not totally true. The first 200 pages were too much information at once and yet not enough. I had to keep reminding myself that all these mish-mashes of plot would come together sooner or later, and the jumble of characters would make sense. (This knowledge would only be apparent to
...more
Kendra
Mar 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I gave this author's first book a 5 and her second book a 4...see a pattern? I think she had a good idea with this book, but it just didn't come together in the right way for me. This is a ghost story/whodunit that begins when the main character, Laurel, awakens to find the ghost of a drowned girl standing by her bed. To me, it felt as though there was simply too much going on - a new mystery, an old mystery, marriage problems, sister problems, mother-daughter problems. Oh, and an offensively st ...more
linnea
Apr 09, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
This was a waste of time. I think JJ must have been presured to write and book and this was all she came up with. I loved gods and between, but this one stunk. Only redeming quality was Thalia. I wish she just took that chatacther and went another direction.
Shannon
Aug 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shannon by: Misty Wright
Jackson does what she does best in this book - create slightly crazy, thoroughly believable, deeply Southern characters. This book centers around two sisters, Laurel & Thalia. As always, Jackson does a good job of creating an interesting plot to surround and propel her characters forward.

There were things I liked - and didn't like - about the main character. I'm not sure whether the characteristics that I liked about her remind me of myself or whether it's the ones I don't like. I know that
...more
Julie
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This would make a great Lifetime movie. As a book, it moved too slowly. It took a really long time to move from the initiating action (girl drowned in pool) to any subsequent action because the main character Laurel kept revisiting her past. Truly, she is haunted by her past, and it's not as if the plot and characters were without merit. But I skimmed over a lot of paragraphs in order to get the story moving and maintain my interest.
Megan
Apr 02, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very disappointed in this book. The plot was decent but moved way to slow.
Laurel-Rain
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laurel Gray Hawthorne's life in Florida in a lovely gated community is a far cry from the town in Alabama where her mother grew up. And although she, her mother, and her sister Thalia visit DeLop every Christmas with presents for the poor relatives, there is no emotional connection between them. It is almost as though Laurel's mother has wiped the mud off of her shoes whenever she leaves the town behind, and has taught her daughters to do the same.

But Laurel is plagued by ghosts of the past in t
...more
Cynthia Anne McLeod
I was disappointed in this one by Jackson whose other two books (Between, Georgia and gods in Alabama) I really enjoyed. I agree with the review which said the first 200 pages were good. I got that far and was excited. I liked Laurel and her wild sister Thalia, plus character of David the husband was well drawn too. Then it fell apart.

Maybe I'm just reading too many other books right now on the issue of social class, but I felt like the subject wasn't handled well in here, despite Jackson's good
...more
Dena
Mar 28, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't think this was as good as her first two books. The plot was a little far-fecthed and I was tired of all the eccentric people in it.
Jen
Mar 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joshilyn Jackson continues to take my breath away. I read her second book, Between, Georgia, on a random whim, expecting fun Southern chick lit, and was SHOCKED to stumble into an amazingly human and interesting story that just happened to be grounded in the South. I shortly thereafter read her first novel and re-read Between, and became a devoted reader of the author's blog. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, her latest, does not disappoint. The main character, Laurel, makes her living as an art qu ...more
Cheryl
Jul 19, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book starts many different, typical plots and finishes none of them. Dead child? Check. Ghosts? Check. Poor uneducated child that nobody cares about? Check. Distant mother and kind father? Check. Possibly unfaithful husband? Check. Kooky big sister to idol-worship? Check. What do all these things have to do with each other? I'm still not sure. The author doesn't know if this book is a mystery, a dysfuntional family story, a book about a mother protecting not only her child but the ones surr ...more
Amy Formanski Duffy
Wow this was a good book. It impressed me more than anything I've read in years. But now that I'm trying to pinpoint what made it so special, I'm stuck. Laurel, the main character, tries to distance herself from her family's white trash past by settling with her husband and daughter in a gated Florida community called Victorianna. But all hell brakes lose when her daughter's best friend Molly turns up dead in the middle of the night in Laurel's swimming pool. Molly appears to Laurel as a ghost a ...more
Jennifer Bradley
I love, love, love Southern writers, and J.J. is one of my favorites. I was a little dissappointed with this book, though. It was intriguing and I finished it quickly, but I felt like it was written really fast. I also thought that the real story was between Laurel and her mother, which wasn't explored. Also, the relationship between Lauren and Thalia could have just been what the entire book was about, without the ghosts and the Ouija board and the shady town in the background. J.J. usually dig ...more
Angela
Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just so-so. Roped me in and kept me going but ultimately was a bit unsatisfying and too pat of an ending. Didn't believe the finale. Too contrived.
Susan Crowe
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books, hoopla
This was my first book by JJ and I really enjoyed it. I'll definitely be reading more of hers!
Emma Gannon
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised to see so many low ratings for this book! I checked this out from the library two days ago, have hardly put it down, and after finishing it tonight I was very satisfied. The prose is beautiful, it immersed me into the lives of some wonderfully genuine and distinct characters, and quite frankly, I loved it. This definitely made me an overnight Joshilyn Jackson fan, and I look forward to reading more from her.

I did give this book four stars because I found the conclusion to be a ta
...more
Susan
Aug 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book's main character. Laurel, is introduced by a ghost. One of three who visit her life throughout the story. The book's a mystery; I only gave it three stars because it was somewhat predictable, although the writing was pretty good and it was interesting enough.
The writer kept referring to a "keeping room" inside the main character's house, set in Florida, and I'm wondering if this is what we call a family room in the midwest. I haven't had time to look it up online, but it threw me each
...more
Gina
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Two and a half stars. I just wasn't feeling it. The premise had potential- ghost of a dead girl standing by the main character's bed. She brings her out ot the pool where she is found floating facedown. But the author just couldn't get her point across; it was flat and disappointing. Don't get me wrong; I was spooked at certain points but then I felt let down by the ending, almost embarrassed that it had me spooked at all to begin with.
Agatha Donkar
This was enjoyable -- she's a great writer, in terms of ear for language -- but I found it far more complex than her first two novels, and consequently a little too ambitious. There was so much going on behind the scenes in terms of plot that I felt we lost some character development. Glad I read it, but it won't be a re-reader like Between, Georgia.
Hannah Holborn
May 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laurel is a delightfully warped, utterly loveable protagonist supported by a strong cast of eccentrics. The ending jarred a bit with its finality, but I loved the book enough not to hold one little flaw against it. A must read for anyone who likes southern gothic with a twist of lime.

Stephanie
Jul 21, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This book reminds me too much of a Jodi Picoult novel--set in suburbia with dark mysteries residing within the homes' polished exteriors. Ugh.
Deb Stern
Dec 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 1/2 stars. Really enjoy listening to the audio version. Just love this author.
Marilyn F
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good one, well written and well imagined, and the best kind of mystery where it's about the people and relationships more than the mystery. A little bit of seeming like she said to herself too, I want to write a book about what it means to be a parent, if you know what I mean ... and also then not so 'relevant' to us, though an interesting look in.
Rainey
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I made it about 1/3 into this before abandoning it altogether. Of all of Jackson's books, the premise of this one is one I've felt the most connected to. But I CANNOT deal with some of the secondary characters. Usually I'm so focused on the main character that secondary characters don't get me. But Laurel isn't a captivating enough main character to distract me from her manipulative sister and her horror-show mother. I don't tolerate people like her mother in my life, and I can't suffer through ...more
treehugger
Jul 05, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of southern lit, a good, fast-paced novel, and fantastic storytelling
I was worried that this book wouldn't live up to Between, Georgia, but it really, really did. I stayed up all night last night reading this book, and finished it this morning - it wasn't really an option to NOT be reading it!!!

This book is utterly unlike Between, however, except for the exceptional storytelling that Jackson is proving to be adept at laying down on paper. This book read much like a mystery, keeping the reader on edge as to what actually happened, whereas I would classify Between
...more
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Jackson's latest novel, THE ALMOST SISTERS, is out now!

New York Times Bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson is the author of gods in Alabama, Between, Georgia, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Backseat Saints, A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty, Someone Else's Love Story, and The Opposite of Everyone. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages, won SIBA’s novel of the year, twice been a #1 Book Se
...more
More about Joshilyn Jackson...
“Saying it it loud, she felt every inch of distance between them.” 4 likes
“You're saying things you can't take back. And you don't even mean them.” 4 likes
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