Versions of a Girl

'A wild, heartbreaking, exhilarating ride' Daisy Buchanan

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Pub Date 4 Jul 2024 | Archive Date 18 Jul 2024
Headline | Mountain Leopard Press

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'No other writer has ever made me laugh and cry as much as Catherine Gray'
Daisy May Cooper

'Tender, lush and electric; a wild, heartbreaking, exhilarating ride'
Daisy Buchanan

'Exquisite, stunning, executed brilliantly'
Poorna Bell

Do we become who we are because of our parents, or in spite of them?

Fern's mother is a social climber and a former ballet dancer who lives a plush life in a London townhouse.

Fern's father only climbs if there's a bottle at the top, has an IQ of 133 and lives hand-to-mouth in Californian motels.

Aged fourteen, Fern has spent equal time with each of her parents. That is, until an unexpected visitor triggers a life-changing dilemma: whether she should get on a plane to London to be with her mother, or stay in California with her father. Here, Fern's narrative splices in two.

Two possible lives, one person. Each Fern will grow in wildly different, but eerily similar directions. Both must determine who they want to be - and how they deal with a thorny problem which threatens to undo them all: a murder.

Warm and brilliantly wise, this is the irresistible fiction debut from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober.

'No other writer has ever made me laugh and cry as much as Catherine Gray'
Daisy May Cooper

'Tender, lush and electric; a wild, heartbreaking, exhilarating ride'
Daisy Buchanan

'Exquisite, stunning...

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ISBN 9781802795165
PRICE £18.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

I’m very excited for Versions of a Girl. I love alternate lives type books and I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds. I’ll be sharing my full thoughts and review upon completion.I’ve never read a Catherine Gray book before but I’m always on the lookout for new upcoming authors so I’ll definitely be adding her to my list.

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This has a very interesting concept. Fern has a choice to make - should she stay with her mother or return to her father? Then we follow the consequences of both decisions, and Fern becomes Flick when with her mother. The underlying mystery of what happened to Uncle Rory is solved in both timelines. The character development is excellent and the plot is well- structured.

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"Versions of a Girl" by Catherine Gray is a captivating and thought-provoking novel that delves into the complex dynamics of family, identity, and the choices we make in life. The story revolves around Fern, a fourteen-year-old girl who must navigate between her mother's luxurious London lifestyle and her father's more humble existence in California.

Fern's mother is portrayed as a social climber and former ballet dancer, living a privileged life in a grand London townhouse. On the other hand, her father, with an IQ of 133, leads a hand-to-mouth existence, often residing in Californian motels. The stark contrast between her parents' lives sets the stage for Fern's internal struggle.

When an unexpected visitor enters the picture, Fern is faced with a life-altering dilemma: whether to leave California and join her mother in London or stay with her father. It is at this point that the narrative splits into two versions, presenting the reader with two possible paths Fern's life could take.

Gray skillfully weaves together these parallel narratives, allowing us to witness two different versions of Fern as she grows and faces the challenges presented to her. Both versions of Fern are compelling and beautifully developed, showcasing the author's ability to create multidimensional characters.

As the story progresses, a thrilling and unexpected twist emerges: a murder that threatens to unravel the lives of both Ferns. This adds an additional layer of suspense and intrigue to the narrative, keeping readers on the edge of their seats.

One of the strengths of "Versions of a Girl" lies in Gray's exploration of identity and the impact of choices on our lives. Through the divergent paths of Fern's two versions, the novel prompts readers to consider the consequences of the choices we make and how they shape our future selves.

Gray's writing is engaging and evocative, capturing the essence of both London and California through vivid descriptions. The pacing of the story is well-balanced, alternating between moments of introspection and thrilling plot developments.

Overall, "Versions of a Girl" is a compelling and thought-provoking novel that skillfully explores themes of family, identity, and the complexity of choices. Catherine Gray's storytelling prowess and the intriguing premise make this book a must-read for fans of contemporary fiction.

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An interesting and enjoyable story which follows two alternative timelines. In one story Fern, the main character, stays with her mother in London and, in the other, she becomes Flick and travels around America with her father. She’s a troubled and difficult young woman, who experiences struggles in both of her alternative lives. As the two stories weave around each other very cleverly, I find myself wondering where the story is going to end for Fern/Flick. A great read!

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