Friday, May 20, 2016

Gridley Girls by Meredith First

Gridley Girls
by Meredith First

Find out more about this book and author:
Twitter @MeredithFirst

Release date: June 21, 2016
Publisher: SparkPress
Genre: Women's Fiction, LGBTQ
Paperback: 400 pages
Rating: 5

Gridley Girls
Gridley Girls Reunited - tba

First sentence(s):
Once upon a time there was a diary.

Sometimes you have to go back before you can move forward.

Meg Monahan feels like she was born to be a secret keeper. From the moment she became a peer counselor in high school, Meg has been keeping her friends secrets – from sordid family drama to their sex lives – that she never wanted to know. Flash forward to adulthood when Meg is a recruiter for the world’s hippest (and most paranoid) high-tech company – and now Meg is a professional secret keeper.

When sudden tragedy strikes before Meg hosts the wedding of her childhood BFF, Anne Calzaretta, the women are forced to face their past – and their secrets – in order to move on to their future.

In 1978, Meg, Anne, Jennifer, and Tonya were such close friends, they were known as “The Group” in their hometown of Gridley, California. But in ninth grade, their lives were changed forever. Loss, lies, and secrets separated them, but could not break their bonds of friendship.

Thirty years later, Meg and Anne reminisce about those days―dealing with parents, school, boys, sex, love, and betrayal. Anne remembers their freshman year as an easier time, but Meg, still feeling guilty about a betrayal of Anne’s trust, is haunted. Even now, Meg is keeping a secret she’s not prepared to face, let alone share.

In her debut novel, based on true events, Meredith First tells a timeless story about the bonds of friendship, loss, and betrayal―and the forgiveness that is within everyone.

Can anyone really keep a secret forever?

My two-bits:

I had a wonderful time jumping from the past and present lives of the main character, Meg, and her friends in this novel inspired by factual events.

Loved how friendship is at the core of this story. I enjoyed how different friendships were portrayed through the rocky times of high school life. Lots of humor among some serious parts.

Being from California, I had never heard of the small town of Gridley. So, it was a treat to learn about Gridley and its folks through this story. I also liked how the story takes on that cozy small town vibe at some parts.

Loved the stories from the 70's with all its period references that created the ambiance and mood well. The back of the book includes a fun 70's pop reference guide with descriptions relating to current day (for those not already familiar with the 70's). Also, personal photos are a great addition to the novel that I think makes the story even more special.

About the author:
Meredith First left an insanely great recruiting career with Apple, Inc. to write the books that were literally haunting her dreams — books for anyone who survived high school with a little help from friends. After studying abroad at the University of London, she received a B.A. in Communications/Broadcasting from Oregon State University. Through the donation of 10% of her income from Gridley Girls, she hopes to help people who struggle with similar issues that she experienced. She lives with her family in Minneapolis and Sacramento and is hard at work on Gridley Girls Reunited, book two in the Gridley Girls series.


* review copy courtesy of book tour sponsored by BookSparks @booksparks

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