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8 September 2014

Review: 'The Girls from Corona del Mar' by Rufi Thorpe (2014)

Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends: hard-hearted Mia and untouchably beautiful, kind Lorrie Ann. While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregnancy at fifteen, and younger brothers she loves but can't quite be good to, Lorrie Ann is luminous, surrounded by her close-knit family, immune to the mistakes that mar her best friend's life. Until a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall apart further-and there is nothing Mia can do to help. And as good, kind, brave Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is and what that question means about them both. A staggeringly arresting, honest novel of love, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship that moves us to ask ourselves just how well we know those we love, what we owe our children, and who we are without our friends.

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of Rufi Thorpe’s debut novel ‘The Girls from Corona del Mar’, which was released on the 14th of August by Hutchinson. I have to admit I wasn’t too sure whether I would enjoy this book or not at first. The cover didn’t particularly catch my eye and neither did the title, but the blurb promises a captivating tale of friendship and I was quite curious to discover more about Mia and Lorrie Ann’s story. Curious enough to pick up the book and check out this debut novel!

Mia and Lorrie Ann are completely different from one another but are still the best of friends. Mia is known as a tough and slightly distant girl who comes from a dysfunctional family: her mother is an alcoholic and her father left them years ago to build up another life without them. In contrast to Mia, Lorrie Ann is beautiful, pure and appears to be part of a perfect happy family consisting of herself, her brother and her happily married parents. But then disaster strikes, and slowly everything in Lorrie Ann’s life seems to go from bad to worse. There’s no longer need for Mia to be jealous of her best friend’s life, but she’s finding it difficult to deal with Lorrie Ann’s struggles, especially as they drift further and further away from one another.

I personally love books about intriguing female friendships and I’m glad to say I ended up really enjoying the story of Mia and Lorrie Ann’s friendship that is explored in ‘The Girls from Corona del Mar’. The two girls come from completely different families and help each other through everything, but no one can predict what is going to happen in life and that is exactly where the close friendship between Mia and Lorrie Ann is challenged to the core. I do not want to give too much away about what happens to the girls in precise detail, but the book deals with various serious topics such as abortion, motherhood, quality of life, and, of course, friendship. Because the novel touches on these interesting topics, it would be a great read for book clubs since there is definitely lots to discuss and think about.

The reader is invited to look at Mia and Lorrie Ann’s lives from when they were teenagers until they are in their thirties. I was really intrigued by both girls, their lives and their decisions, and since the book is not too long (about 250 pages), I finished it rather quickly. It was a fast read, but quite an intense one at the same time. Personally, I was a bit let down by the ending and it somehow didn’t really work for me. However, this doesn’t make the story any less compelling. Overall, ‘The Girls from Corona del Mar’ is a very raw, dramatic, and captivating story about two women and the interesting question whether friendship really can conquer everything.

For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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