This is hands-down my favorite contemporary young adult book of the year. Set in a gritty Los Angeles, 15-year-old Anna finds herself stuck for the summer with her older sister (a working actress), trying to pay for a plane ticket home. Her world is bombarded by wannabes and has-beens; eventually she takes a job researching the Manson Girls for an indie film.
The moment I finished, I wanted to flip to the front and start this all over again. Umminger’s novel is a rich character study of Anna, her new circle, and LA (a character in itself). A must-read for lazy summer evenings. *Three Starred Reviews* --Antonia— From American Girls
A bittersweet, honest, and widely acclaimed YA coming-of-age novel that distills honest truths about American girldom
Anna is a fifteen-year-old girl slouching toward adulthood, and she's had it with her life at home. So Anna "borrows" her stepmom's credit card and runs away to Los Angeles, where her half-sister takes her in. But LA isn't quite the glamorous escape Anna had imagined.
As Anna spends her days on TV and movie sets, she engrosses herself in a project researching the murderous Manson girls--and although the violence in her own life isn't the kind that leaves physical scars, she begins to notice the parallels between herself and the lost girls of LA, and of America, past and present.
In Anna's singular voice, we glimpse not only a picture of life on the B-list in LA, but also a clear-eyed reflection on being young, vulnerable, lost, and female in America--in short, on the B-list of life. Alison Umminger writes about girls, violence, and which people society deems worthy of caring about, which ones it doesn't, in a way not often seen in teen fiction.
American Girls is:
An ALA Booklist Top 10 First Novel
A Kirkus Best Book of the Year
A Barnes & Noble Best YA Book of the Year
A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best of 2016
A Bustle Best YA Book of the Year
YALSA's Best Fiction for Young Adults
"Messy, honest, and unflinchingly real. I can't get this book out of my head. I don't want to get this book out of my head." --Becky Albertalli, Morris Award-winning author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
About the Author
ALISON UMMINGER grew up in Arlington, Virginia, and as an undergraduate was the fourth woman to be elected president of "The Harvard Lampoon." Today, she is a professor of English at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia, where she lives with her family. "American Girls" is her first novel.