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“Why did Lorrie Ann look graceful in beat-up Keds and shorts a bit too small for her? Why was it charming when she snorted from laughing too hard? Yes, we were jealous of her, and yet we did not hate her. She was never so much as teased by us, we roaming and bratty girls of Corona del Mar, thieves of corn nuts and orange soda, abusers of lip gloss and foul language.”<br> <br> An astonishing debut about friendships made in youth, <i>The Girls from Corona del Mar </i>is a fiercely beautiful novel about how these bonds, challenged by loss, illness, parenthood, and distance, either break or endure.<br><br> 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. Then a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall further—and there is nothing Mia can do to help. And as good, brave, fair Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is, and what that question means about them both. <br><br> A staggeringly honest, deeply felt novel of family, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship, <i>The Girls from Corona del Mar</i> asks just how well we know those we love, what we owe our children, and who we are without our friends.
<p><strong>An Amazon Best Book of the Month, July 2014:</strong> While much of pop culture might have you believe otherwise, the most important relationship a young woman has is not always with her first love, or even, say, with her father. It is with her best friend, the one to whom she tells everything about her sexual encounters, the one who accompanies her to medical procedures, the one who sometimes forgives but never forgets. As Rufi Thorpe demonstrates so vividly in her debut <em>The Girls from Corona del Mar</em>, the one we grow up with is the one we love forever--even well after we’ve grown apart. Lorrie Ann seems perfect: gorgeous, smart, and charming, while her best friend Mia, while brainy and attractive, has a more deliberative personality, and an alcoholic parent, to boot. If biology were destiny, it would be Lorrie Ann who succeeded most in life--except that bad choices and bad breaks intervened. Over nearly two decades, we watch Mia try to come to terms with her friend’s struggles and to understand why things didn’t go as planned. Occasionally, graduate-student Mia feels pretentious--her obsession with her PhD project, ancient Babylonian myth, is grating--and the way Lorrie Ann’s life unfolds can be contrived. But because of Thorpe’s raw and intelligent voice, this book stays with you. Mia calls her time in school “those seven strenuous years of tugging myself slowly toward excellence,” and explains Lorrie Ann’s attraction to an inappropriate mate this way: “She wanted to pick him up and shake him up and down until all the amazing things inside of him came out . . .[like]. . . the fallen candy from a piñata.” You may not like either of these women all the time, but you’ll likely recognize them, and find it hard to turn away. <em>--Sara Nelson</em></p>