WHERE: The author was raised in the rectory of her father’s church in Southbridge MA. She now lives and works as a physician in the Boston Area.
WHY: “Sensitive…The youngest daughter of an Evangelical preacher-turned-reality TV star hatches a plan to wrangle her freedom—and expose the dark truth about her family.
“Esther Anne Hicks has spent her entire life in front of cameras: Six for Hicks is a Duggar-like American phenomenon, documenting the shiny, wholesome life of her parents and five siblings. So when Essie’s ruthlessly calculating mother finds out her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, it’s a matter to be discussed with the production office.
“She could abort, suggests production, or spend her pregnancy hiding out, off camera, in a villa on St. John and then give the baby up for adoption, although both of those are risky—there’s always the possibility of someone finding out. The other option is marriage: They could stage a wedding, fast. And though she has no formal say in the matter, Essie has a candidate in mind: Roarke Richards, a senior at her high school and the only boy she knows who needs a way out as much as she does.
“With a wedding on the books, Essie enlists reporter Liberty Bell—who, in a previous life, was a high-profile hyperconservative teen blogger and who has family secrets of her own—to help sell their love story to America. And then, after the wedding, to help her seize the narrative and tell the real truth about her family. The question is: What cost is she willing to pay to tell it?” –KIRKUS REVIEWS
“An incisive novel.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
. . . . .
FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK:
On the day I turn seventeen, there is a meeting to decide whether I should have the baby or if sneaking me to a clinic for an abortion is worth the PR risk. I am not invited, which is just as well, since my being there might imply that I have some choice in the matter and I know that I have none. I listen in, though, the way Lissa and I used to before she went away. It was Lissa who discovered the vent in the wall of the laundry room, who realized that you could eavesdrop on everything that was said in the production office if you climbed onto the dryer and put your ear up against the filigreed bronze grate.