Killer Nashville Book of the Day

Drowning Girls cover

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Paula Treick DeBoard credit Will DeBoard

Paula Treick DeBoard

The Drowning Girls by Paula Treick DeBoard
Reviewed by M.K. Sealy

Those who read often tend to come across the same tired plot in many novels, as each author tries to put a new spin on worn-out characters and over-used settings. In The Drowning Girls (HarperCollins), however, Paula Treick DeBoard takes a familiar plotline and adapts it to new purposes. From the first few words until the novel’s close, DeBoard reimagines the wheel with this suspenseful, family-oriented drama that sucks the reader into the psyches of the McGinnis family members.

As expected, things are rarely what they seem in The Drowning Girls, as Liz McGinnis, along with her husband and daughter, move to The Palms—a community that feels like it belongs in an upper-class reality TV drama. Spoiled housewives, spoiled children, and materialism are ubiquitous in their new community; money and power rule the realm, and Liz feels like she’s living on the periphery. Things become more tenuous when Liz begins discovering the hard way that no one can be trusted, and that things are never what they appear to be, even in a place where appearance is everything. Then, the character Kelsey enters the lives of the McGinnis family and stays there, creating a rift between not only Liz and Phil, but also between Liz and her daughter, Danielle.

The poisonous atmosphere of The Palms begins to seep into the McGinnis family as secrets are brought to light, alliances formed, and the family begins to crumble, the novel culminating in a brilliant scene that is not only breathtaking because of its content, but also because of the way in which DeBoard writes it. The Drowning Girls is an exceptionally well-executed novel, full to the brim with plot twists and believable dialogue. With a fast pace, The Drowning Girls is an excellent novel for the beach, the bedside, or anywhere that allows for a few hours of reading—because once you pick this book up, you’re not going to want to put it down.


M. K. Sealy earned a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in literature from a Nashville university. She is a copyeditor for a Nashville-based publication, but also writes poetry, fiction, and is currently attempting a screenplay, all while working to obtain a Master of Education.


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