Apron Bramhall has come unmoored. It’s 1985 and her mom has passed away, her evil stepmother is pregnant, and her best friend has traded her in for a newer model. Fortunately, she’s about to be saved by Jesus. Not that Jesus—the actor who plays him in Jesus Christ, Superstar. Apron is desperate to avoid the look-alike Mike (no one should look that much like Jesus unless they can perform a miracle or two), but suddenly he’s everywhere. Until one day, she’s stuck in church with him—of all places. And then something happens; Apron’s broken teenage heart blinks on for the first time since she’s been adrift. Mike and his grumpy boyfriend, Chad, offer her a summer job in their flower store and Apron’s world seems to calm. But when she uncovers Chad’s secret, coming of age becomes almost too much bear. She’s forced to see things the adults around her fail to—like what love really means and who is paying too much for it. ~From GoodReads
GIRL UNMOORED is a coming of age story set in the 1980s. That alone earned my rapt attention. Then you have the first line: "Jesus was in his underwear."(pg.9) That line, of course, made me think "Wha...?", but I also laughed. I never expected, though, to be so personally moved by the story.
GIRL UNMOORED reminded me in a way of a movie, maybe My Girl. The story isn't the same, or even similar. It's more of a feeling portrayed, or brought back. This story is the summer of a young, impressionable girl whose world is shifted and who learns and teaches those around her about real love. This isn't a love story in the romantic sense. It is love in a human sense.
Apron (the name is explained, so don't panic, people) is thirteen. I immediately adored her and wanted to smother her in love. But she became a rock star to me because she is a devoted Laura Ingalls Wilder fan and reads the Little House on the Prairie series repeatedly. She is motherless, her father is distracted by her evil stepmother, her best friend has dumped her. Apron has lost her faith. She's drifting, until she meets Mike and Chad.
Mike and Chad are proof that love has no defining factors. It's 1985 and many are afraid of gay men, particularly the ones who are sick. They are subjected to homophobia, violence, discrimination. The love exhibited between them, the kindness, the devotion in the face of the toughest obstacle of all, is inspiring. I dare anyone to read this book and say that a love like Mike and Chad's is wrong. They become the anchor Apron needs. They take Apron in and embrace her in a way that causes her to blossom.
GIRL UNMOORED is a beautifully, bittersweet story of love; the most basic, human love. I could not put it down. I was captivated by Apron's voice. To see the world through her view was poignant. I giggled at Mike and Chad, I raged at Evil Stepmother, I rolled my eyes at the ex-bff. And I cried, so hard. I count myself lucky to have read GIRL UNMOORED.
My favorite quote is near the end of the story. To share it would give too much away. It made me sob.
"The church smelled like leftover tears. Sadness was tucked into corners and hidden under beams and pasted so thick on the walls that it was hard to breathe." (pg.55)
"Being this close to Mike made the cramp in my heart loosen up a bit, like the shingles were falling off of it." (pg.136)
Read an excerpt from GIRL UNMOORED.
Published March 6th 2012 by Fiction Std, E Book
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Source: Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.