Marilou Is Everywhere (Hardcover)
Riverhead Books, 9780525535249, 288pp.
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (7/29/2019)
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"This novel reads like a miracle." --NPR
Consumed by the longing for a different life, a teenager flees her family and carefully slips into another -- replacing a girl whose own sudden disappearance still haunts the town.
Fourteen-year-old Cindy and her two older brothers live in rural Pennsylvania, in a house with occasional electricity, two fierce dogs, one book, and a mother who comes and goes for months at a time. Deprived of adult supervision, the siblings rely on one another for nourishment of all kinds. As Cindy's brothers take on new responsibilities for her care, the shadow of danger looms larger and the status quo no longer seems tolerable.
So when a glamorous teen from a more affluent, cultured home goes missing, Cindy escapes her own family's poverty and slips into the missing teen's life. As Jude Vanderjohn, Cindy is suddenly surrounded by books and art, by new foods and traditions, and most important, by a startling sense of possibility. In her borrowed life she also finds herself accepting the confused love of a mother who is constitutionally incapable of grasping what has happened to her real daughter. As Cindy experiences overwhelming maternal love for the first time, she must reckon with her own deceits and, in the process, learn what it means to be a daughter, a sister, and a neighbor.
Marilou Is Everywhere is a powerful, propulsive portrait of an overlooked girl who finds for the first time that her choices matter.
About the Author
Praise For Marilou Is Everywhere: A Novel…
"It’s a book brimming with longing, with heartbreak. It’s a coming-of-age by coming into somebody else. . . . And yet the novel is about more than just adolescent angst, a young girl’s longing to be somewhere else, someone else. Its universality lies in its generosity — its empathy for every character within it, regardless of his or her decisions, no matter how flawed. There is compassion for questionable actions rooted in longing. Reduced to those longings, are any of us so dissimilar?”—New York Times Book Review
"Hauntingly gorgeous... Spare and sensual and surprisingly funny... Smith's characters are as rich as her prose.—Kirkus, starred review
"Simmering mystery that confronts questions about the consequences of action and inaction alike, and what it means to belong." – Vanity Fair
"[A] stunningly evocative debut novel. . . .In Smith’s hands, Cindy’s acute observations capture the classism and casual racism of their poor town . . . such poetic phrasings work, perhaps because sound as well as meaning contribute so much to a depiction of poverty and insularity that wouldn’t be out of place in the books of Lauren Groff or Tim Gautreaux."—Boston Globe
"Marilou Is Everywhere is a breathtakingly empathetic portrayal of a young woman in crisis, and an astonishingly assured debut. With lyrical precision, Ms. Smith writes Cindy with humanity and kindness, bringing her to vivid life. . . Cindy’s hunger to have those miles inside of her be recognized is part of the most human of desires: to be known as a person with an inherent worth — a need that countless hearts everywhere carry inside of them.”—Pittsburgh Post Gazette
"Sarah Elaine Smith’s remarkably accomplished debut novel casts a wondrous spell. Her brilliantly drawn young narrator, a young girl starved of maternal love and a stranger to human kindness, easily wins our sympathy . . . . Marilou Is Everywhere has drama and poignancy, but its other source of delight is Smith’s stunning prose. Beautiful phrasings or original formulations glint on the page . . . we find ourselves swept along while marveling at a unique new voice.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Sometimes a story haunts you. The prose leaves you raw, defying you to articulate what the book is because it feels too immense. Sarah Elaine Smith’s debut novel, Marilou Is Everywhere, is such a book. . . Written in Smith’s evocative prose, Cindy’s voice is remarkable . . . Smith succeeds in capturing the intricacies of poverty empathy, which makes the novel a particularly heartbreaking read."—Paste
"Beautiful debut novel. . .one of the most unforgettable books I’ve read this year, offering a uniquely haunting, but also disarmingly funny and lyrical look at loss, love and the desire to be seen for who you know yourself to be." –Nylon
"Smith’s writing is feral. It’s alert, skittish, and hungry. . .A poignant story of accountability."– Bust Magazine
"This is a mysterious and strangely exciting debut. Smith is a poet, and writes in sensory-driven, soul-tapping prose . . . Literary-minded teens will find a kindred heroine in the wonderfully weird and wry Cindy."—Booklist
"This eerie exploration of desperation and the complexities of maternal love is sure to be a page-turner."—Lithub
"There’s nothing typical about Sarah Elaine Smith’s debut novel, Marilou is Everywhere . . .Set in Greene County, Pa., the usual clichés about rural life are absent. The book reflects the language of the Southwestern Pennsylvania region, but never in a condescending manner. ” –Pittsburgh City Paper
" 'Amusing' doesn’t feel like the right term for the period after a teenage girl goes missing, but that’s just one of many surprises Sarah Elaine Smith sprinkles throughout her debut novel . . . Grab this coming-of-age-story if you’ve ever wanted to escape your own life, or if you simply want to see how delightfully a mystery can be written."—Hypebae
"Smith’s rural world is brought to life with precise and devastating descriptions of poverty and neglect… fans of Gabriel Tallent’s My Absolute Darling will appreciate Cindy’s toughened point of view and Smith’s close attention to the details of rural Appalachian life. This is a promising debut."—Publisher’s Weekly
"Sarah Elaine Smith has one of the most likable and delightful writing voices I have encountered recently - funny, lyrical, sexy, sad, humane, and just a total pleasure to read." – Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot
"Sarah Smith’s debut, Marilou is Everywhere, is one of the most exquisitely written books I’ve read in a long time. Page after page I was struck by lines so unbearably beautiful and wise that by the final sentence I’d underlined most of the book. That she manages to do this while also telling a firecracker of a story about what happens when 14 year old Cindy slips into the life of the missing girl next door proves Smith a master. A haunting novel about craving escape so badly you're willing to erase yourself, by a writer I would follow anywhere." – Julie Buntin, author of Marlena
"Marilou is Everywhere is everything. A missing girl story turned on its ear. That ear so close to the rural Pennsylvania ground that you’ll know every goddamn goat and swimming hole, every derelict heart and jar of homemade blackberry wine. The fullness of Sarah Smith’s prose will you leave feeling like you're hiding in plain sight--just like Cindy Stoat standing in for the missing girl. And as Smith plumbs what it means to disappear, you’ll find yourself in such fullness that you’ll ache and disappear too. This is the rare book that wants for nothing." – Smith Henderson, author of Fourth of July Creek