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A girl goes missing, but it's not a mystery

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'Marilou is Everywhere' by Sarah Elaine Smith
'Marilou is Everywhere' by Sarah Elaine Smith
Courtesy of publisher

Every week, The Thread checks in with booksellers around the country about their favorite books of the moment. This week, we spoke to Emilie Sommer from East City Bookshop in Washington, D.C.

At the center of “Marilou is Everywhere” is a peculiar plot: A girl has gone missing in a rural Pennsylvania town, and another girl in town decides to try and take her place.

“But it’s not a mystery,” says bookseller Emilie Sommer. “It’s very much a coming-of-age story. … It is the most surprising book I have read all year.”

Cindy, “the girl who takes advantage of the missing girl’s disappearance, is a young girl on the cusp of adolescence, living with her brothers.” One of the brothers is a nice guy, the other not so much.

“And through Cindy’s eyes, we see the town, their isolation, Cindy’s loneliness, the goats that become her friends – and everything about it is surprising and invigorating.”

The novel is Sarah Elaine Smith’s debut, though Smith is also a poet. Sommer says “you can feel her poetic nature on every page of the book, which is what delighted me so much.”

“Everyone I know who I have recommended it to so far has reacted the same way, so I want more and more people to read ‘Marilou is Everywhere.’”