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Girl One

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Orphan Black meets Margaret Atwood in this twisty supernatural thriller about female power and the bonds of sisterhood Josephine Morrow is Girl One, the first of nine “Miracle Babies” conceived without male DNA, raised on an experimental commune known as the Homestead. When a suspicious fire destroys the commune and claims the lives of two of the Homesteaders, the remaining Orphan Black meets Margaret Atwood in this twisty supernatural thriller about female power and the bonds of sisterhood Josephine Morrow is Girl One, the first of nine “Miracle Babies” conceived without male DNA, raised on an experimental commune known as the Homestead. When a suspicious fire destroys the commune and claims the lives of two of the Homesteaders, the remaining Girls and their Mothers scatter across the United States and lose touch. Years later, Margaret Morrow goes missing, and Josie sets off on a desperate road trip, tracking down her estranged sisters who seem to hold the keys to her mother’s disappearance. Tracing the clues Margaret left behind, Josie joins forces with the other Girls, facing down those who seek to eradicate their very existence while uncovering secrets about their origins and unlocking devastating abilities they never knew they had.


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Orphan Black meets Margaret Atwood in this twisty supernatural thriller about female power and the bonds of sisterhood Josephine Morrow is Girl One, the first of nine “Miracle Babies” conceived without male DNA, raised on an experimental commune known as the Homestead. When a suspicious fire destroys the commune and claims the lives of two of the Homesteaders, the remaining Orphan Black meets Margaret Atwood in this twisty supernatural thriller about female power and the bonds of sisterhood Josephine Morrow is Girl One, the first of nine “Miracle Babies” conceived without male DNA, raised on an experimental commune known as the Homestead. When a suspicious fire destroys the commune and claims the lives of two of the Homesteaders, the remaining Girls and their Mothers scatter across the United States and lose touch. Years later, Margaret Morrow goes missing, and Josie sets off on a desperate road trip, tracking down her estranged sisters who seem to hold the keys to her mother’s disappearance. Tracing the clues Margaret left behind, Josie joins forces with the other Girls, facing down those who seek to eradicate their very existence while uncovering secrets about their origins and unlocking devastating abilities they never knew they had.

30 review for Girl One

  1. 5 out of 5

    Blaine

    “From where I stand, a lot of good things in this world are destroyed by simple men.” ... “I know it’s a publicity stunt: a pretty girl, trying her hand at being Dr. Frankenstein instead of the monster.” ... “Look at who we are. Look at what we can do. Why are we running from anybody?” ... I knew how much people wanted to control what we held inside ourselves, and how much people feared it running wild. ... She was light trapped inside a bulb, illuminating only him.Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus “From where I stand, a lot of good things in this world are destroyed by simple men.” ... “I know it’s a publicity stunt: a pretty girl, trying her hand at being Dr. Frankenstein instead of the monster.” ... “Look at who we are. Look at what we can do. Why are we running from anybody?” ... I knew how much people wanted to control what we held inside ourselves, and how much people feared it running wild. ... She was light trapped inside a bulb, illuminating only him.Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for sending me an ARC of Girl One in exchange for an honest review. Josephine “Josie” Morrow, known to the world as “Girl One,” was born in 1971 as the first person conceived with only DNA from her mother. Over the next few years, Dr. Joseph Bellanger brought eight more “Miracle Babies” into the world, from eight other women, on a farm known as The Homestead. But in 1977, one of the Mothers died, and then others began to move away, until tragedy struck and Dr. Bellanger and the youngest Girl were killed—and his research lost—when an arsonist burned down The Homestead. In 1994, when this story takes place, Josie is now a first-year medical student, planning to try to rediscover her father figure’s research. But when her mother disappears under suspicious circumstances, Josie’s search will lead her on a cross country trip and reunite her with the other surviving Girls and Mothers. Along the way, Josie learns new information that challenges her beliefs about everyone, including herself, who was at The Homestead—and what really happened there—all those years ago. To say anything more specific would spoil this entertaining thriller. Josie, the first-person narrator, is a fully developed character with a distinctive voice: wary, inquisitive, confused as things she accepted as fundamental truths are turned upside down. The sexual tension between her and her love interest is very well written. The story is long but well plotted, with new characters introduced consistently throughout to provide new information and/or place old information into a new context. There’s a good mix of scenes built on dialogue and action set pieces, and the story builds to a satisfying climax. Indeed, the book has a very cinematic feel, and I can easily imagine it being turned into either a movie or, even better, a Netflix series. Girl One is the first book I’ve seen that openly compares itself to Naomi Alderman's The Power, one of the best books I’ve read in the last few years. It’s a bold but fair comparison, as both books use a science fiction thriller framework to tell a feminist story about women literally being stronger together. I can only hope more stories are written claiming both of these books as inspirations. Highly recommended. 6/1/2021 update: reposting my review to celebrate that today is publication day!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    Girl One was born in 1971, the first of 9 daughters, conceived without male DNA. She was being raised in an experimental commune called “The Homestead” with her creator, Dr. Joseph Bellanger, and the other mothers and daughters, until a suspicious fire takes two lives, and those remaining scatter across the USA, choosing to distance themselves from the experiment and each other. In 1994, Josephine (Girl One) is studying in Chicago with the hope of following in her “father’s” footsteps, until she Girl One was born in 1971, the first of 9 daughters, conceived without male DNA. She was being raised in an experimental commune called “The Homestead” with her creator, Dr. Joseph Bellanger, and the other mothers and daughters, until a suspicious fire takes two lives, and those remaining scatter across the USA, choosing to distance themselves from the experiment and each other. In 1994, Josephine (Girl One) is studying in Chicago with the hope of following in her “father’s” footsteps, until she learns of her mother Margaret’s disappearance on the news. She returns to her mother’s home and finds that again there has been a fire, and her mother’s car and purse are there even though she is not. The only clue to her whereabouts-a phone # for a reporter from the Kansas City Telegraph-named Thomas Abbott. With little else to go on-the pair team up to try and trace her mother’s last footsteps, taking them on a cross country road trip which leads to the other mother /daughter duos, most of who would have preferred to stay hidden. Each daughter new will question if they are indeed, just ordinary or extraordinary. Every so often I am intrigued by a plot which changes or challenges the status quo of society so this caught my attention. I was surprised to discover that it was not Dystopian but rather, set in the past where Josie will learn that some in society will observe this experiment, others will want to document what happened, but most will FEAR the ramifications of a World which would no longer need men to conceive babies or be fathers in the traditional sense. But despite my interest, I found the pace slow-bogged down by long chapters and most of the revelations being shared through conversations rather than any action especially in the first half! The pace picked up some in the second half, but I never found myself fully invested in this one-I had not connected with the characters enough to care about the outcome. Still, books resonate differently with each of us, and I encourage you to read several reviews to see if this might be a better fit for you. This was another buddy read with DeAnn, so be sure to watch for her perspective in her (always wonderful) review ! I would like to thank the publisher for providing a gifted copy through NetGalley! It was my pleasure to provide a candid review! Available June 1, 2021

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    Another “meh”. Normally, I would have DNF’ed this one in the beginning when I realized it’s not my sort of book. However, with my brain still healing, I’m limited to the books I can read. Unfortunately, books that require a lot of thought, the kind of books I love most, are still overwhelming at this point. Most of the books I have holds on are books that require a few more brain cells than I have working at the moment so I’m sometimes resorting to “fluff” I wouldn’t otherwise read. Don’t let the Another “meh”. Normally, I would have DNF’ed this one in the beginning when I realized it’s not my sort of book. However, with my brain still healing, I’m limited to the books I can read. Unfortunately, books that require a lot of thought, the kind of books I love most, are still overwhelming at this point. Most of the books I have holds on are books that require a few more brain cells than I have working at the moment so I’m sometimes resorting to “fluff” I wouldn’t otherwise read. Don’t let the blurb for this book fool you with its comparison to Margaret Atwood. It’s not anything like a Margaret Atwood, definitely not like “Handmaid’s Tale”, which is the book I assume they’re comparing it to. Seems like just about every book with a slightly dystopian bent and women being used gets compared to Handmaid’s Tale. Word to the blurb writers: Stop. Please. Just stop with the comparisons already. This book is a slow moving thriller (oxymoron?) with a bit of mystery mixed in. Or something like that. It could have been half the length and suited me better. I won’t say I was bored because hey, at least I’m able to read again, and reading anything, even a cereal box or the writing on a package of toilet paper, cuts into the extreme boredom of not being able to read at all. Again, this just wasn’t my thing. I had it mostly figured out in the beginning and I didn’t think it was exciting. Those who enjoy this genre will probably enjoy it more than I did, which is why I’m still granting it four stars, rather than the two for my level of enjoyment. It’s written well and I don’t want to punish the book for not being the sort of thing that really grabs me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lisa of Troy

    As part of an experiment, 9 women have cloned themselves. These women are known as the mothers (Mother One through Mother Nine) who produced 9 girls (Girl One through Girl Nine). They all live in a home called The Homestead until a devastating fire destroys the building and leaves two people dead. The mothers and girls scatter across the country. Until Girl One, Josie, discovers that her mother (Mother One) is missing. Josie searches for her mother and meets up with the other Mother/Girl combina As part of an experiment, 9 women have cloned themselves. These women are known as the mothers (Mother One through Mother Nine) who produced 9 girls (Girl One through Girl Nine). They all live in a home called The Homestead until a devastating fire destroys the building and leaves two people dead. The mothers and girls scatter across the country. Until Girl One, Josie, discovers that her mother (Mother One) is missing. Josie searches for her mother and meets up with the other Mother/Girl combinations along the way. Phenomenal and fast-paced, this book was extremely entertaining! Murphy is a master story-teller, and Girl One is one of those books that will become a classic. It was entirely unpredictable and kept me guessing until the very end. I am dying to read the next book in this series (not sure if there is a series planned but there should be). Yes, yes, and yes! Girl One is a serious contender for Book of the Year. This book is so good that I am pre-ordering another copy right now because one day soon someone will look at that book and say, "Oh my Gosh! You have a first edition of Girl One?!" That is how good this book is. *Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    There is what you know about your life, then there is the "truth" about your life. Josephine Morrow (Girl One) may have been the first, but there were more "miracle babies" born on a commune called the homestead. Dr. Joseph Bellanger created nine miracle babies (all female) conceived without male DNA. Their existence troubled people. There was outrage, anger, and fear. When a mysterious fire burned down the homestead, killing two people, the women took their daughters and fled. Hoping to start n There is what you know about your life, then there is the "truth" about your life. Josephine Morrow (Girl One) may have been the first, but there were more "miracle babies" born on a commune called the homestead. Dr. Joseph Bellanger created nine miracle babies (all female) conceived without male DNA. Their existence troubled people. There was outrage, anger, and fear. When a mysterious fire burned down the homestead, killing two people, the women took their daughters and fled. Hoping to start new lives, safe lives, out of the public eye. Years later Josephine Morrow (Girl One) has learned that her mother, Margaret Morrow (Mother One) is missing. Naturally, she is worried and returns to their home, where another mysterious fire has occurred. Is there a connection? All her mother's belongings are still there including a phone number for a journalist. Could he hold the answers? Does he know something? Soon the duo is on a guest to find the truth... Science fiction blends with mystery and fantasy in this book. I was excited by the synopsis and thought this would be a thrilling, dark and suspenseful book. For me, although enjoyable and intriguing, it left me wanting more. I admit, I am not a big Science Fiction reader and fantasy is hit or miss for me, but I thought it would work for me in this book as it is also marketed as being a thriller and dystopian. Two genres I love. This book took me longer than usual to read as I kept putting it down to focus on other things as I was not fully invested in this book. Having said that, I enjoyed the quest-for-truth aspect in this book. There are secrets, truths, and shocks for the characters. Other readers are enjoying this book more, so read their reviews as well. Original, thought provoking and Intriguing. Thank you to Farrar, Straus, and Giroux and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own. Read more of my reviews at www.openbookposts.com

  6. 5 out of 5

    DeAnn

    3 DNA stars This one had an interesting premise – an entire commune of women and their babies with no male DNA needed for conception! In the early 1970s, nine babies were born at the commune and it took the world by storm. There was outrage from some men around the country and one was arrested for burning down the commune and killing two people. The women and their children scatter, and the story picks up years later when Mother One is missing after another suspicious fire. Her daughter, Girl One 3 DNA stars This one had an interesting premise – an entire commune of women and their babies with no male DNA needed for conception! In the early 1970s, nine babies were born at the commune and it took the world by storm. There was outrage from some men around the country and one was arrested for burning down the commune and killing two people. The women and their children scatter, and the story picks up years later when Mother One is missing after another suspicious fire. Her daughter, Girl One, starts out looking for her, reuniting with some of the other girls along the way in the quest to find Mother One and to find out the real truth of their origins. The group is stalked and in danger along the way. I found this one to be too dense! It was a slower read and unfortunately, I didn’t get invested in the characters. I think this might have been a case of high expectations going into this one as it was compared to Margaret Atwood. I think other readers might resonate more with this one than I did. This was another terrific buddy read with Jayme and I encourage you to read her review for a great perspective as well. Thank you to MCD/Farrar, Straus & Giroux for the complimentary copy of this one. Set to be released 6.1.2021

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sara Murphy

    Obviously I'm VERY biased here but I love this book deeply, it's been brewing in my brain for a long time, and I cannot wait to share it. Obviously I'm VERY biased here but I love this book deeply, it's been brewing in my brain for a long time, and I cannot wait to share it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Debbie "DJ"

    Well, darn it! This book was so original and had such a good premise. Nine different women who had conceived a child without a man. This was done with the help of an outliner doctor, who had problems of his own. What I found the most frustrating was the story was simply too long. I found myself constantly looking at how far I had progressed. By the time I got to the end, I found myself not caring. Nine different women and their children were also difficult to follow as to who was who. Thanks to Well, darn it! This book was so original and had such a good premise. Nine different women who had conceived a child without a man. This was done with the help of an outliner doctor, who had problems of his own. What I found the most frustrating was the story was simply too long. I found myself constantly looking at how far I had progressed. By the time I got to the end, I found myself not caring. Nine different women and their children were also difficult to follow as to who was who. Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    Twenty-three years after her miraculous birth, the first of nine girls conceived without male DNA to be the genetic replicas of their mothers is in medical school hoping to carry on the science of the doctor who had created her. His work was lost after his death in a fire many years earlier. Josephine Morrow had a challenging relationship with her mother, but when her mom goes missing, Josie leaves school to find her. The journey leads her to other girls who were born the same way she was. Toget Twenty-three years after her miraculous birth, the first of nine girls conceived without male DNA to be the genetic replicas of their mothers is in medical school hoping to carry on the science of the doctor who had created her. His work was lost after his death in a fire many years earlier. Josephine Morrow had a challenging relationship with her mother, but when her mom goes missing, Josie leaves school to find her. The journey leads her to other girls who were born the same way she was. Together, they find powers they previously weren’t aware they were capable of as well as unraveling secrets and untruths they’d been fed all their lives. This is listed as science fiction, but it’s also an intriguing mystery. I found this to be original and captivating. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES JUNE 1, 2021.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David Gibson

    The Short Version: A sci-fi novel set to burn the patriarchy down in one fell swoop. A novel that reminds you of the power of well written science fiction, entertaining and thought provoking in equal measure, with just a few minor stumbles along the way. The Long Version: I received a copy of the audiobook version of this novel thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan audio in exchange for an honest review. In the 1970s, Josephine Morrow, Girl One, was a miracle baby. She was the first of 9 virgin births The Short Version: A sci-fi novel set to burn the patriarchy down in one fell swoop. A novel that reminds you of the power of well written science fiction, entertaining and thought provoking in equal measure, with just a few minor stumbles along the way. The Long Version: I received a copy of the audiobook version of this novel thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan audio in exchange for an honest review. In the 1970s, Josephine Morrow, Girl One, was a miracle baby. She was the first of 9 virgin births to mothers who lived at a retreat in Vermont called The Homestead. That was until The Homestead burned to the ground and killed the doctor, Joseph Bellanger, who helped bring her into existence. Now, years later, there's been another fire, this time at her mother's home. Her mother has gone missing, and in a search to find her, Josephine will discover the truth about her mother, The Homestead, and even herself. This was a firecracker of a novel that reminds me of the best Sci Fi I've ever read. It poses big questions about ethics, religion, science, patriarchy, ambition, and motherhood but wraps them up in a well paced action filled mystery story that makes you forget you're exploring such profound themes. I had the same feeling listening to this as I did when I first read The Island of Dr. Moreau. I really struggled to put this audiobook down and was fully wrapped up in the emotions Josephine felt as she hunted for her mother. In her journey, Josephine reconnects with the daughters of The Homestead. Each girl is a reflection of her mother and reaction to her at the same time, and one of Murphy's strength is clearly in her constructing of the female characters. The main ones all have definitive arcs and for the most part they are fully realized with their decisions fitting nicely with those arcs. Even the smaller female roles pack a punch in their brief appearances. This novel is fiercely feminine and unapologetic about it. The pacing of the novel was very well done also, and I didn't feel any real lag as the story progressed. I was interested in the unraveling mystery, trying to figure out the twists before they were revealed, though I didn't succeed in guessing the twists...another good sign. The prose is well written and mostly effortless, with the exception of an overuse of the word ersatz, but everybody has those few favorite words I suppose. The last major win for this audiobook was the narrator's performance. It was a huge boon the atmosphere and experience. She really heightened the emotion and tension during all the big parts of the novel and provided a much richer experience overall. She also provided nuance to each character voice, keeping them easy to track, even as the cast burgeoned to a large size. Really really good job by the narrator. There were some cloying drawbacks to this title as well however. First, the plot, while well paced, felt a little arbitrary. Josephine was unraveling the mystery of her past she was sheltered from, but as the novel progressed it didn't feel like one clue led to the next in a logical order, it felt more like the author saying "let's have her go here and learn this little piece, then she'll go over here and learn this little piece". It didn't take me out of the story really, but I felt tugged along a little bit here and there,like I was struggling to be fully immersed. Also, the depictions of men in this novel were a little reductive. I get this book is about female empowerment, and patriarchy, and the naked ambitions of men, etc... but at times I felt it pushed things too far. Every man in this story, with the exception of one character who was barely a bit character, was a cruel, violent, conniving, controlling, abusive jerk. I accept that I have not lived the female experience, so I may be speaking a little out of turn in my reactions to the characterizations of men, especially powerful men. I also accept that there are undoubtedly PLENTY of men like the ones in this book, out there roaming the world. At the same time, I felt the book was lacking a counter balance that would have punched up the depravity of the villains in this novel. Lastly, the ending was a huge mixed bag for me. It was emotional and tense, I mean I got literal goosebumps a couple times listening. Problem was there were also several times in the last couple chapters where I wanted to chuck my phone against the wall because the characters were being insufferably STUPID. There were obvious solutions that seemed to have been ignored solely to keep the stakes high. The ending was really well written as far as what it evoked, it just felt forced, like real people would make better decisions. Overall this book was a very solid 4 out of 5, and a strong recommendation to all Sci Fi lovers and anyone who wants to burn the patriarchy to the ground. Component Ratings Concept/Idea: 5 out of 5 Protagonist: 4.5 out of 5 Antagonist: 5 out of 5 Supporting Characters: 4 out of 5 Character Development: 4 out of 5 Plot: 3.5 out of 5 Pacing: 4.5 out of 5 Narrator Performance: 4.5 out of 5 Dialogue: 4 out of 5 Ending: 3.5 out of 5

  11. 4 out of 5

    Montzalee Wittmann

    Girl One by Sara Flannery Murphy Farrar, Straus and Giroux I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this extraordinary book! This book is going in my favorite folder! I just can't explain how much I love this book! This book is about nine girls that were conceived without male DNA. A scientific breakthrough lead by a doctor that the lead character, Josie or Girl One, always had loved like a father. These girls were not well received in the public. They were threatened by relig Girl One by Sara Flannery Murphy Farrar, Straus and Giroux I want to thank the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this extraordinary book! This book is going in my favorite folder! I just can't explain how much I love this book! This book is about nine girls that were conceived without male DNA. A scientific breakthrough lead by a doctor that the lead character, Josie or Girl One, always had loved like a father. These girls were not well received in the public. They were threatened by religious groups, bullied, and had to live in hiding most of their lives. The doctor and the youngest girl was killed. Before that, the mothers and daughters lived together on a property away from the public. Now they were scattered. The story starts with Josie going to find her mom. There was a fire at her mom's house and her mom is missing. A reporter says he will help her. She is reluctant but agrees. Someone is trying to kill them as they travel. What they find as they try to find her mom, by tracking down the other girls, opens up a new world. Her life has been a lie. Her mother has lied to her. The doctor lied to her. But things will change now. The girls have powers now. They are no longer helpless!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    The Girl One of the title is Josephine Morrow, the first of nine girls born as exact genetic replica's of their mother, without male DNA, and raised on a commune known as the Homestead. The girls, and their mothers, were part of scientific research by Dr Joseph Bellanger, who Josephine considered her much loved, and respected, father figure. However, science is often viewed with suspicion, and Bellanger's work was no exception, with the Homestead a place of great interest by media and public and The Girl One of the title is Josephine Morrow, the first of nine girls born as exact genetic replica's of their mother, without male DNA, and raised on a commune known as the Homestead. The girls, and their mothers, were part of scientific research by Dr Joseph Bellanger, who Josephine considered her much loved, and respected, father figure. However, science is often viewed with suspicion, and Bellanger's work was no exception, with the Homestead a place of great interest by media and public and attracting critics. One critic was a preacher called Ricky Peters, who was arrested for arson, leaving two members of the Homestead dead and the rest scattered around the country. When we meet Josephine, she is at University, keen to have a career in science. When her mother, Margaret, goes missing, she heads home to search for clues and ends up searching for her with journalist, Thomas Abbott, from the Kansas City Telegraph. Abbott is keen to write a book on the Homestead, while the search for her mother forces Josephine to confront her past, meet up with the remaining members of the Homestead and discover powers she shares with those she grew up with. This is an interesting concept. You feel for Josie, who is conflicted - both keen to explore the science that made her and yet impatient of the media interest which has followed her every move. Part science fiction and part mystery, this is an enjoyable read with a lot of twists and turns. I received a copy of the book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    MissBecka Gee

    A Sci-Fi mystery book? I'm in! The characters are all really well developed and allowed the story to flow organically. My only real complaint is the ending. I wanted more time with all the characters. I wanted more of the future; the girls, (view spoiler)[their powers, Fiona's baby, the relationships that developed, Tom and his book... (hide spoiler)] , basically everything that comes next. A Sci-Fi mystery book? I'm in! The characters are all really well developed and allowed the story to flow organically. My only real complaint is the ending. I wanted more time with all the characters. I wanted more of the future; the girls, (view spoiler)[their powers, Fiona's baby, the relationships that developed, Tom and his book... (hide spoiler)] , basically everything that comes next.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jordan (Jordy’s Book Club)

    QUICK TAKE: as a genre fan, I found a lot to like in this one. The comparisons to ORPHAN BLACK feel spot on, with a mysterious woman tracking down members of the strange commune she grew up in. Oh yeah, and did I mention that she was the produce of what is essentially scientific "immaculate conception"? Of course, as she begins tracking down others like her, she realizes nefarious forces are out to get her, and ultimately discovers more about herself than she ever knew. It's fast-paced and fun w QUICK TAKE: as a genre fan, I found a lot to like in this one. The comparisons to ORPHAN BLACK feel spot on, with a mysterious woman tracking down members of the strange commune she grew up in. Oh yeah, and did I mention that she was the produce of what is essentially scientific "immaculate conception"? Of course, as she begins tracking down others like her, she realizes nefarious forces are out to get her, and ultimately discovers more about herself than she ever knew. It's fast-paced and fun with a couple really dark and twisty fun scenes.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    In the world of Girl One, a scientist named Joseph Bellanger succeeded in engineering human parthenogenesis (reproduction without fertilisation, i.e. no need for a father) in the early 1970s. Nine ‘miracle’ children were born, all girls, on a commune known as the Homestead. The first of them (hence ‘Girl One’) was Josephine Morrow. The experiment ended in ignominy when a fire, allegedly set by a preacher who’d been an outspoken opponent of the ‘virgin births’, destroyed the Homestead, killing on In the world of Girl One, a scientist named Joseph Bellanger succeeded in engineering human parthenogenesis (reproduction without fertilisation, i.e. no need for a father) in the early 1970s. Nine ‘miracle’ children were born, all girls, on a commune known as the Homestead. The first of them (hence ‘Girl One’) was Josephine Morrow. The experiment ended in ignominy when a fire, allegedly set by a preacher who’d been an outspoken opponent of the ‘virgin births’, destroyed the Homestead, killing one of the girls along with Bellanger, who took the secrets of his scientific method to the grave. 17 years later, in 1994, Josie is a young woman studying medicine and hoping to follow in Bellanger’s footsteps. Like most of the other ex-Homestead residents, she’s largely disowned the controversy of her birth and has been trying to live a quiet life with her mother, Margaret. When Margaret disappears, however, Josie’s efforts to find her turn into a sort of road trip, visiting each surviving mother-daughter pair, and in the process unearthing plenty of secrets... including the crucial revelation that some of the women appear to have superpowers. I feel torn about this book. I really liked the author’s debut, The Possessions, and I went into Girl One with high hopes, interested in both the premise and Josie’s voice. On the other hand, I’m not generally a fan of novels that combine science fiction with earnest liberal feminism – especially not when the plot deals extensively with reproduction and motherhood, as here – so perhaps I should’ve known it wouldn’t quite be my cup of tea. Although there are enough mysteries and twists to keep the plot engaging, my reading pace slowed as it went on, and I didn’t feel a great deal of investment in what ended up happening to Josie or the 'Girls’, most of whom I found slightly annoying. Oddly, Bellanger is the most compelling character despite not actually being present for most of the book. It’s also one of those books that feels like it’s been written with one eye on the idea of a potential TV or film adaptation. I get why – I can see this story making a great miniseries – but what might work well on a screen can be very clunky on the page. The characterisation of each of the girls is implausibly broad, and you can see virtually every plot twist coming from a mile off, including a forced, inauthentic romance that develops between two of the main characters. I received an advance review copy of Girl One from the publisher through Edelweiss. TinyLetter | Linktree

  16. 5 out of 5

    Donna Backshall

    I believed the hype and ended up totally bored by this sort of dystopian novel that was neither thrilling nor science-y. The comparisons to Margaret Atwood were intriguing, but did not deliver -- a great idea but poorly executed. We basically just spend a LONG time following a young woman looking for her missing mother. We meet a lot of people related to this virgin birth (parthenogenesis) thing that happened and find out some vaguely interesting stuff along the way. Oh yeah, and virgin birth eq I believed the hype and ended up totally bored by this sort of dystopian novel that was neither thrilling nor science-y. The comparisons to Margaret Atwood were intriguing, but did not deliver -- a great idea but poorly executed. We basically just spend a LONG time following a young woman looking for her missing mother. We meet a lot of people related to this virgin birth (parthenogenesis) thing that happened and find out some vaguely interesting stuff along the way. Oh yeah, and virgin birth equals weird supernatural abilities, apparently.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    It is refreshing when a book delivers on its premise. I could definitely see where the Orphan Black and Margaret Atwood vibes come into play here. Another interesting element to me was the cult like atmosphere. I was drawn into this story pretty much right away and scrambling to piece it all together along with Josephine along the way. There was a few times when things dragged a bit in the first half but I quite enjoyed meeting each unique character along the way and seeing those sisterhood bonds It is refreshing when a book delivers on its premise. I could definitely see where the Orphan Black and Margaret Atwood vibes come into play here. Another interesting element to me was the cult like atmosphere. I was drawn into this story pretty much right away and scrambling to piece it all together along with Josephine along the way. There was a few times when things dragged a bit in the first half but I quite enjoyed meeting each unique character along the way and seeing those sisterhood bonds form. While I can't really say I fell in love with any of the characters, I definitely appreciated them and what each one brought to the story. It also felt a bit to me like that was possibly the goal though. I felt like we weren't meant to necessarily love but rather respect them. Above all else even, respect their power as women. It was great how much that shined throughout the entire story, the power of women, even in the midst of others constantly trying to stamp that out. I also loved the very relatable way Murphy incorporated the intricate and evolving relationships with parents as a child grows up. You get two very different views from childhood and adulthood. While Josephine definitely had her own brand of revelations there so much of that pov change is something we all experience and it can be quite an adjustment. I enjoyed seeing those differences through Josephine and how she had to really process it all in a rather short amount of time. All in all a compelling story that kept me guessing and eagerly flipping through the pages. I'm definitely curious to check out more from this author. I received an arc of this book from Farrar, Straus and Giroux via Netgalley and this is my honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    Girl One is an imaginative speculative fiction novel set in a world in which women can conceive without men. It follows a young woman, Josephine ”Josie” Morrow who’s the first human being born in the 1970s via parthenogenesis (virgin birth) hence the name Girl One. She was born on the Homestead, a commune for women and has no genetic father, but she’s grown up with an adoration of the researcher who helmed her conception through science: Dr Joseph Bellanger. It's April 1994 and Josie is busy stu Girl One is an imaginative speculative fiction novel set in a world in which women can conceive without men. It follows a young woman, Josephine ”Josie” Morrow who’s the first human being born in the 1970s via parthenogenesis (virgin birth) hence the name Girl One. She was born on the Homestead, a commune for women and has no genetic father, but she’s grown up with an adoration of the researcher who helmed her conception through science: Dr Joseph Bellanger. It's April 1994 and Josie is busy studying for medical exams in Chicago taking place in a few weeks but has just learned that her mother, Margaret, is missing. Not only that but the house in Coeur du Lac, Illinois in which she lived and in which Josie spent her formative years has burned to the ground, however, the source of the fire is still unknown. She's been gone a day when Josie finds out and although they haven't spoken for over a year, she sets off to her adopted hometown immediately. As she begins to search for Margaret, Josie, who believes her father to be dead, must seek out the other mothers who gave birth on the Homestead, a place where not only Josie was birthed but eight other girls too. Journalist Tom Abbott, who knew Margaret, offers his help and using clues from her mother’s newly-discovered notebook, she follows a trail across the United States, finding the mothers and reconnecting with their daughters; some even join her on her quest to discover the truth about both her mother’s vanishing act and her past as part of the biggest reproductive advancement in history. Some of those who perhaps see her as a step-sibling despite not sharing any biological parentage join her on the journey and as the young women become acquainted with one another, they discover they each have supernatural abilities. From telekinesis to mind control and even the power to heal, they'll need all the help they can muster with Margaret having done everything in her power to bury the secrets of the past from being rediscovered. Has her whole life been a lie? Girl One is a compulsive and compelling supernatural coming-of-age thriller with a dual timeline moving between the 1970s and 1990s in an alternate past. Everything Josie thought she knew – about her body, her mother, her origin story, reproduction in general – is being tossed in the air and landing in new patterns. Centring on asexual reproduction giving it a strong feminist slant, this first-person narrative told from Josie’s perspective has many genre-bending elements making it difficult to categorise; each of the sisters having a different superpower gives the book a bit of a superhero feel yet the stalking aspect is more akin to a thriller and the rest alternate history and sci-fi. It begins very slowly to the point where I was wondering whether to continue and admittedly there are some considerable plot holes, but I stuck it out and I'm glad I did as when the pace picked up so did the undercurrent of tension and the sense of impending doom that lingered throughout began to build suspensefully. This inventive novel explores some very deep themes, mostly around the often fraught relationship between mothers and daughters and the men who feel they have rights to women’s bodies. It will leave you pondering the power of choice and the importance of family bonds, the communities we build and the power of truth to set us free.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Trisha

    What an amazing hidden little gem of a story! This wasn't on my radar until I heard others talking about it. I spotted it on Netgalley and decided to give it a try. I am SO glad I did! You have the story, at the heart of it, is a young woman coming back home to search for her mother. Her mother has gone missing after a house fire. Only her mom is not a normal mom and she's not your normal young adult. Her mom is known as Mother One, and she as Girl One. They were a part of an experiment by a man What an amazing hidden little gem of a story! This wasn't on my radar until I heard others talking about it. I spotted it on Netgalley and decided to give it a try. I am SO glad I did! You have the story, at the heart of it, is a young woman coming back home to search for her mother. Her mother has gone missing after a house fire. Only her mom is not a normal mom and she's not your normal young adult. Her mom is known as Mother One, and she as Girl One. They were a part of an experiment by a man who helped 9 women become pregnant without any involvement of male DNA. Virgin births. So when her mother goes missing, she fears the worse. Have the people who have hated them for years finally caught to her? The journey and adventure to find her mom revisits their past and her childhood. Each person she visits unravels the confusing story just a little more and I was completely captivated by it. I also loved the small, tender side love story that played so well into the plot and adventure. This one was just so good. A huge thank you to the author and publisher for providing an e-ARC via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion regarding the book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Karen’s Library

    When I read the synopsis of Girl One, I knew this was something I needed to read. And I wasn’t disappointed. The premise is so cool. Nine women in a commune, Homestead, all get pregnant and give birth to girls without male sperm. They all have “virgin births”. The story takes place years later when Girl One’s mother disappears. Girl One, Josie, goes on a search for her mother and along the way, contacts each of the surviving Girls Two through Nine. There was just enough science to make the story When I read the synopsis of Girl One, I knew this was something I needed to read. And I wasn’t disappointed. The premise is so cool. Nine women in a commune, Homestead, all get pregnant and give birth to girls without male sperm. They all have “virgin births”. The story takes place years later when Girl One’s mother disappears. Girl One, Josie, goes on a search for her mother and along the way, contacts each of the surviving Girls Two through Nine. There was just enough science to make the storyline plausible without being too much and I loved the characters of the Girls. I stayed up way too late to finish this book but I had to find out what happens. I definitely enjoyed this one. *Thanks so much to MCD Books and NetGalley for the advance copy!*

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lou Jacobs

    Girl One April 29, 2021 Book Review Girl One Sara Flannery Murphy reviewed by Lou Jacobs readersremains.com | Goodreads A thought-provoking and compelling mystery that explores female power and the bonds of sisterhood with a touch of magic. Nine “miracle girls” are conceived without male DNA and raised in an experimental commune, the Homestead, in the 1970s. The world has mixed feelings about their existence—however, the most prevailing is outrage. The possibility of parthenogenesis is certainly known Girl One April 29, 2021 Book Review Girl One Sara Flannery Murphy reviewed by Lou Jacobs readersremains.com | Goodreads A thought-provoking and compelling mystery that explores female power and the bonds of sisterhood with a touch of magic. Nine “miracle girls” are conceived without male DNA and raised in an experimental commune, the Homestead, in the 1970s. The world has mixed feelings about their existence—however, the most prevailing is outrage. The possibility of parthenogenesis is certainly known in small invertebrates, some insects like bees, wasps and ants, and even certain lizards and reptiles, but not in humans. Unfertilized eggs are not considered viable and fail to maturate. However, Dr Joseph Belanger who has toiled in obscurity and some would say, “quackery” has somehow unlocked parthenogenesis and is catapulted to fame when the nine women of the commune start delivering these “miracle babies”. All of the women have given birth without genetic material from a man. They have no father, either genetically or biologically. All of which unfortunately leads to a quagmire of moral and political outrage with theologians and politicians weighing in. There were people who wanted them vanquished like vampires and witches. burning all at the stake. The first baby, Josephine Morrow, is known as “Girl One” and initially is heralded as a scientific breakthrough, only later to become embroiled in ignorance and hate. In the ensuing turmoil the Homestead and Dr Belanger continue to be verbally attacked until a suspicious fire destroys the commune, and among the wreckage are two barely recognizable bodies. Dr Belanger and a child. This creates a diaspora of the mothers and daughters across the country into apparent obscurity. Nothing has been written in ten years about the Homestead or the surviving mothers and daughters until another mysterious fire occurs at the home of Margaret Morrow — Mother One. No body is found, and her purse and car remain at the scene. No-one seems to be overly concerned …. but, the media does rehash the past, as expected. Josephine has just finished her first year of medical school, where she intends on studying reproductive medicine and continue the work of Dr Belanger. His research and method of achieving parthenogenesis went up in flames, never to be replicated. She returns home to investigate the disappearance of her mother. Her only uncovered clue at the scene is a note bearing the name and phone number of journalist Thomas Abbott, who her mother contacted days before the fire. Josephine sets out on a journey across the country to contact the other mothers and “her sisters” Perhaps they will shed light on not only her mother’s disappearance, but also the mystery behind her past and the commune. However, at every stage of the way she encounters people determined to obstruct her investigation and keep the secrets locked away forever. Initially she is joined by Abbott and later two of the daughters, Cate, and Isabel. Incrementally the true nature of the daughters and consequences of the commune life are exposed. The unexpected strengths and unique abilities of each daughter are explored, and seemingly brought to light and maturation by the union of the sisters. Sara Flannery Murphy proves to be a masterful storyteller as she weaves together a propulsive and twisted narrative that escalates with tension and thought-provoking meaning. Explored are feminist themes without being preachy or detrimental to the evocative mystery. Although the brilliant mystery is plot driven, Murphy expertly unfolds into the fray multiple complex characters with flaws, foibles and yet, overriding virtue and persistence. Overall, the theme is not invested with the goal of doing away with fatherhood, but rather celebrating the importance of female choice and control. This gem will certainly appeal to those who enjoyed the oeuvre of Joanna Russ and Margaret Atwood. Thanks to NetGalley and Frarrar, Straus and Giroux publishing for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review. (at readers remains.com and published at Mystery And Suspense Magazine)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Haider

    WAIT! Did I go years and years not reading books featuring parthenogenesis and then in the past month I've read two novels about it?!? Life is weird sometimes, maybe not as weird as the life of Josephine Morrow, who is the Girl One referred to in the title. Josephine was the first girl born via "virgin birth" from a group of women living on a commune in the 1970's. These women were determined to have children without the involvement of men. Josephine was the first of 9 girls born here. All of th WAIT! Did I go years and years not reading books featuring parthenogenesis and then in the past month I've read two novels about it?!? Life is weird sometimes, maybe not as weird as the life of Josephine Morrow, who is the Girl One referred to in the title. Josephine was the first girl born via "virgin birth" from a group of women living on a commune in the 1970's. These women were determined to have children without the involvement of men. Josephine was the first of 9 girls born here. All of the girls are clones of their mothers. When her mother goes missing, Josephine begins trying to figure out what happened to her and in the course of her investigation talks to some of the other girls and mothers. They uncover forces that seem to be looking to eradicate these girls. This was an adventure! It was twisty, feminist sci-fi that brings to mind The Handmaid's Tale and other similar works. It's about women who want to prove that they don't need men and some men who don't take kindly to that. It is about fame & privacy. There is so much wrapped up in here. This would make a great book club book. But it isn't too heavy handed and is a fun, thrilling ride of a read. I listened to the audiobook, which I would recommend! Thank you to the publisher for the audiobook!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amanda McHugh

    Orphan Black is one of my all-time favorite shows, so as soon as I read the summary and comp titles, I knew I had to request this book and was thrilled to be approved. Josephine Morrow is Girl One, the first of a set of nine miracle babies born through a complicated genetic process that removes male DNA from conception. Her entire identity is wrapped up in this experiment, and she's determined to make it her life's work, until she learns that her mother has gone missing. Returning home proves to Orphan Black is one of my all-time favorite shows, so as soon as I read the summary and comp titles, I knew I had to request this book and was thrilled to be approved. Josephine Morrow is Girl One, the first of a set of nine miracle babies born through a complicated genetic process that removes male DNA from conception. Her entire identity is wrapped up in this experiment, and she's determined to make it her life's work, until she learns that her mother has gone missing. Returning home proves to be more challenging than she anticipated, however, and what follows is a journey to not only find her mother, but the truth about herself and the other Homestead girls. I really liked this book. To start, Josephine is a wonderful protagonist. I enjoyed seeing her progression as she ventures further into her past, putting pieces together in a way that encourages her to reflect internally. These were my favorite moments, and while I won't give spoilers, I will say that her conflict really drives the course of the plot. And speaking of plot: there is *a lot* going on here in the best possible way. Multiple backgrounds and settings, overlapping conflicts that span decades, ulterior motivations and a never-ending supply of questions. On top of that, you get some pretty smart commentary on boiler plate social topics like conception, autonomy, science versus religion, sexuality and gender roles, and I especially appreciated the focus on family. What defines a family? Are the relationships we forge on our own inferior to the ones we're obligated to have by blood? Or are they more meaningful because we choose to nurture them? So many times you see toxic family dynamics continue because of an implied sense of loyalty based on genetics, but we see Josephine navigating some pretty tricky situations to make up her own mind, and I loved that. I had some issues with the way the investigative plot unfolds, and I thought some motivations could've been simplified to make it work cleaner. Some of the twists felt predictable, but others were structured and executed nicely, so I think many readers will be engrossed in the mystery. Overall, Girl One is a smart, energetic thriller with supernatural twists and a fresh take on the dangers of ambition. I'd recommend to fans of Orphan Black, Firestarter, Black Mirror, or anyone who's looking for an insightful thriller-sci-fi blend with heart. Huge thanks to Farrar, Straus, and Giroux and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

  24. 5 out of 5

    lark benobi

    "Sitting on the bus this morning, I hadn't been prepared to see the photo again; I experienced the quick throb of grief and love I felt whenever I saw Bellanger's face." "We were frozen for a moment, watching it happen, and then everything sped up, a blur of movement, everyone moving on instinct." "Pain exploded in my lower back. The ground rose toward me, a sick rush. I'd been kicked to the dirt, my skull ringing and ringing, the pain an expanding continent across my body." If this quick, direct, "Sitting on the bus this morning, I hadn't been prepared to see the photo again; I experienced the quick throb of grief and love I felt whenever I saw Bellanger's face." "We were frozen for a moment, watching it happen, and then everything sped up, a blur of movement, everyone moving on instinct." "Pain exploded in my lower back. The ground rose toward me, a sick rush. I'd been kicked to the dirt, my skull ringing and ringing, the pain an expanding continent across my body." If this quick, direct, semi-hard-boiled style of prose is a style you like to read, then this book has a pretty good story and you will probably enjoy it. The publisher's copy for this title mentions both "Orphan Black" and "the propulsive, cinematic storytelling of a Marvel movie," and as I like my novels more literary than cinematic, I have a feeling I'll like the movie of this one better.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon Johnson

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I had to read no further than "Orphan Black meets Margaret Atwood" to send out a request for a review copy of this novel. I always want to read feminist speculative fiction revolving around reproduction and this story was so layered in science and psychology--I loved it! In the 1970s a group of nine women gathered at a commune called The Homestead, and each give birth via parthenogenesis, an asexual form of reprod I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I had to read no further than "Orphan Black meets Margaret Atwood" to send out a request for a review copy of this novel. I always want to read feminist speculative fiction revolving around reproduction and this story was so layered in science and psychology--I loved it! In the 1970s a group of nine women gathered at a commune called The Homestead, and each give birth via parthenogenesis, an asexual form of reproduction which does not require male sperm. The outside world is both fascinated and enraged. News outlets can't get enough, the scientific community is skeptical, and "prophets" predict the end of men. After a devastating fire occurs at The Homestead, the Girls and Mothers scatter and lose touch. Flash forward to the early 1990s, Girl One, Josephine "Josie" Morrow returns to her mother's home to find there has been a fire and her mother is missing. On a mission to find her mother, Josie sets out to find all the other Girls and Mothers, uncovering a lot of secrets about The Homestead, the doctor who assisted the Mothers, the lives of each of the Mother/Girl pairs, and each Girl's unique otherworldly powers. This medical thriller was full of great twists and turns that kept me guessing and inspired lots of deep thinking. I selfishly want more, more, MORE and am hoping this becomes a series (although there is no indication of that being the case at this time.) Come chat with me about books here, too: Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest

  26. 5 out of 5

    Megan Collins

    Wow. Just wow. GIRL ONE is absolutely stunning. The book follows Josephine, the titular Girl One, the product of a controversial experiment in which nine babies were conceived without a shred of male DNA. When the Girls’ commune was burned down, killing two people inside, Josephine and her mother fled, living a life that her mother tried to keep as mundane as possible. But now, with Josephine in her twenties, the past has caught up to them both—Josephine’s mother has disappeared, her house also Wow. Just wow. GIRL ONE is absolutely stunning. The book follows Josephine, the titular Girl One, the product of a controversial experiment in which nine babies were conceived without a shred of male DNA. When the Girls’ commune was burned down, killing two people inside, Josephine and her mother fled, living a life that her mother tried to keep as mundane as possible. But now, with Josephine in her twenties, the past has caught up to them both—Josephine’s mother has disappeared, her house also in flames, and Josephine’s only hope to find her is to connect with the other Girls she hasn’t seen since she was a child. Along the way, she discovers there was so much more happening on the commune than she ever knew, and that each Girl is even more special than the public was made aware. This novel is an intoxicating mix of genres—thriller, sci-fi, speculative—and every page is as unpredictable as the last. I truly never had any idea where the story would take me, but I was riveted by the ride. In addition to being suspenseful, GIRL ONE is filled with fascinating and complex characters, each with a journey worthy of their own book, and the emotional arcs are simply gorgeous. Speaking of gorgeous: Sara Flannery Murphy’s prose. I knew from her debut, THE POSSESSIONS, that GIRL ONE was likely to be lyrical and exquisite, but there were still so many times when the smallest phrase would stop me in my tracks: “merciless wilderness,” “grubby luxury of sulking,” just to name a couple. And after all that—the amazing characters, the intriguing mystery, the beautiful writing—Sara Flannery Murphy sticks the landing, creating a haunting but deeply empowering conclusion to this wild masterpiece of a story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Uzma Ali

    3.5 ⭐️ Mystery was really well constructed, but I feel like the different stages of the mystery were all revealed too quickly for me to enjoy the story and try to decipher the clues myself. Really enjoyed the feminist themes throughout the book, and the last 50 pages really saved it for me. Super creative and obviously very well researched.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Lowe

    It's Thelma and Louise meets The X-Men. Back in the 70s, a scientist manages to induce virgin birth in nine women who live at the commune The Homestead. When a mysterious fire kills the scientist and one mother/daughter pair, the other eight mothers and daughters scatter across the country. In the 90s, Josie Morrow, Girl One, has just received word that her mother has gone missing. Armed with only the clues her mother left behind, Josie will go on a road trip to meet her seven "sisters" -- and she It's Thelma and Louise meets The X-Men. Back in the 70s, a scientist manages to induce virgin birth in nine women who live at the commune The Homestead. When a mysterious fire kills the scientist and one mother/daughter pair, the other eight mothers and daughters scatter across the country. In the 90s, Josie Morrow, Girl One, has just received word that her mother has gone missing. Armed with only the clues her mother left behind, Josie will go on a road trip to meet her seven "sisters" -- and she'll discover things about the Homestead that her mother never dared tell her. ***** I love books that start in the middle and move both backwards into the past (the Commune, Josie's mother's secrets, the true story of Bellanger) and into the future (what's happened to her "sisters," where has her mother gone, what do their powers mean?). Lots of mysteries going back and lots of action going forward. I'm excited to see what my friends make of it. =)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    Interesting premise and I may eventually pick it back up, but not enough is keeping me interested in the story right now.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Matt Chisling (MattyandtheBooks)

    All I have to say is... GIRL ONE GIRL ONE PRE-ORDER AND GET READY FOR GIRL ONE. Holy GIRL POWER MAGIC. Margaret Atwood meets Orphan Black in Sara Flannery Murphy’s novel about the power of sisterhood and the dangers of tampering with natural order. Josephine Morrow is “Girl One”, one of nine miracle children who are conceived without male DNA and raised on an experimental commune. Following outrage at their existence, a fire rips through the commune, kills its leader and sends the mothers and da All I have to say is... GIRL ONE GIRL ONE PRE-ORDER AND GET READY FOR GIRL ONE. Holy GIRL POWER MAGIC. Margaret Atwood meets Orphan Black in Sara Flannery Murphy’s novel about the power of sisterhood and the dangers of tampering with natural order. Josephine Morrow is “Girl One”, one of nine miracle children who are conceived without male DNA and raised on an experimental commune. Following outrage at their existence, a fire rips through the commune, kills its leader and sends the mothers and daughters all across the country, into obscurity. But when Josie’s mother goes missing after a second fire, she ends up on a road trip across the country to track down her estranged sisters, each of whom holds a key to their family mystery. But she’s not alone in this chase – for some other forces seem committed to keeping the past safely behind them. As layer after layer about the commune life is exposed, Josephine and her comrades soon discover that there’s more than natural forces at the center of their story, and that their being alive is life-changing. Y’all, this was a ride that had me hooked from the first chapter. Sara Flannery Murphy is having the opposite of a Sophomore Slump in this propulsive, Feminist, witchy thriller. For those of you who are put off by the scientific overtones, know that this is first and foremost a plot-drive puzzle of a story: A mystery that blends science, magic, and politics to illustrate the ways that women are written out of their own stories. The book lives up to its hype: Atwood’s cryptic genius and Orphan Black’s binge-factor are both on display here. It felt refreshing to see a genuinely unique concept come to life in such a propulsive and chilling manner. The story feels expertly plotted without ever dragging, and the novel additionally packs strong action, sexual tension and gripping a-ha moments that will leave the best sleuths guessing that mysteries lie ahead. To say I loved it is an understatement. One of my favorite supernatural mysteries – ever. I am the MOST grateful to MCD Books and FSG Books for my advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review. GIRL ONE will be out on 6/1.

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