In brief: All Girls; The Good Girls; This Lovely City – reviews

A story of sexual abuse in a boarding school; an unflinching account of female shame; and a vibrant debut set in the Windrush era

All Girls
Emily Layden

John Murray, £14.99, pp320

Emily Layden’s debut novel, set in an exclusive all-girls’ American boarding school, concerns accusations of historic sexual abuse, which threaten to permanently damage the reputation of an academic and privileged community. The author astutely captures the claustrophobic and toxic culture of conformity among teenage girls, and while the book’s multiple perspectives prevent deep engagement with any single character, Layden nonetheless creates an incisive portrait of young women in the #MeToo era.

The Good Girls
Sonia Faleiro

Bloomsbury, £16.99, pp352

In 2014, two teenage girls were found hanging from a mango tree on the outskirts of their village in rural India, presumed raped and murdered. They were cousins and, as their parents sought to uncover what had happened, the story went viral, provoking debate about the relationship between poverty and crime, the nature of patriarchy, and society’s treatment of women. Sonia Faleiro’s meticulously researched investigation results in a powerful, unflinching account of misogyny, female shame and the notion of honour.

This Lovely City
Louise Hare

HarperCollins, £8.99, pp400 (paperback)

Louise Hare’s debut novel explores the experiences of the Windrush generation through her protagonist, Lawrie Matthews, arriving in a Britain he believes is going to offer work and a warm welcome. Instead, he finds a grim country shot through with racism. Life is good for Lawrie, who falls in love with the mixed-race girl next door, until he discovers the body of a black baby in a local pond and the accusations fly. Hare brings pathos and warmth to a vibrant story of postwar immigration.

• To order All Girls, The Good Girls or This Lovely City go to Delivery charges may apply


Hannah Beckerman

The GuardianTramp

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