American Girl by Wendy Walker
10/17/23; 359 pages
American Girl by Wendy Walker is a very highly recommended psychological thriller with an unforgettable teenage narrator.
Charlie Hudson, an autistic seventeen-year-old, has a list of rules and a plan for her life. Her goal is to leave Sawyer, PA. Charlie has already been accepted at MIT, she is the top student at her high school and should be a shoe-in for the town's scholarship. As her stepfather won't give her any money to attend school, she has been working every hour she can at the Triple S sandwich shop since she was fourteen . She has a spreadsheet and a plan, saving everything for school.
When Clay (Coop) Cooper the loathsome shop owner and small town mogul, is found dead outside his house, the police investigation determines he was killed elsewhere. The problem is that Charlie is caught on the store camera after closing hiding under the counter on the night the murder occurred. Charlie refuses to say what she saw or heard because several people close to her have motives and she is going to protect those she loves. Charlie's silence, however, may be putting her in danger.
Charlie is a wonderful, fully realized, unforgettable character. The
plot unfolds through her first-person narrative so readers can follow
her thoughts, rules, and deductions as the sense of urgency and danger
increase. She is a very sympathetic character. Clearly she is protecting those she loves while putting herself into harms way and a suspect herself.
American Girl is an admirably written, un-put-downable
thriller that held my complete attention throughout the entire novel.
There are facts Charlie is not divulging and twists along the way as
more information is carefully released. What seems a simple case is much
more complex and the character of Charlie makes it a remarkable,
memorable psychological thriller.