A Novel by Gillian French

Directed & Edited by
Alexander Rydell

Produced by
Film 14


With shades of E. Lockhart’s “We Were Liars” and Gayle Forman’s “I Was Here”, this dark and twisted mystery will be the page-turner of the year.

Everyone in Tenney’s Harbor, Maine, knows about the Garrison tragedy. How an unexplained fire ravaged their house, killing four of the five family members. But what people don’t know is who did it. All fingers point at Pearl Haskins’s father, the town drunk, who was the caretaker of the property, but she just can’t believe it. Leave it to a town of rich people to blame “the help.”

With her disgraced father now trying to find work in between booze benders, Pearl’s future doesn’t hold much more than waiting tables at the local country club, where the wealthy come to flaunt their money and spread their gossip. This year, Tristan, the last surviving Garrison, and his group of affluent and arrogant friends have made a point of sitting in Pearl’s section. Though she’s repulsed by most of them, Tristan’s quiet sadness and somber demeanor have her rethinking her judgments. Befriending the boys could mean getting closer to the truth, clearing her father’s name, and giving Tristan the closure he seems to be searching for. But it could also trap Pearl in a sinister web of secrets, lies, and betrayals that, once untangled, will leave no life unchanged . . . if it doesn’t take hers first.

A lush summer atmosphere, class tensions, and complex romantic feelings all hit pitch-perfect notes in this slow-burning mystery.

Kirkus Reviews

Gillian French’s first book was very well received and her second won’t disappoint. Perfect for the 13+ reader this fast-paced mystery could easily be read in one sitting.

Better Reading

Gillian French combines class struggles, family drama, and, of course, murder, like an alchemist, creating something greater than its parts. This book lingers in the best way possible.

Lamar GilesEdgar Award Finalist and Author of “Fake ID” and “Endangered”

French describes in unflinching, haunting prose the social inequities and rugged, often treacherous landscape that define the ‘real’ Maine. An excellent teen mystery that reveals far more than ‘whodunnit.’

Maria PadianAuthor of "Wrecked"

Gillian French

Gillian French’s debut novel, “Grit”, was an Indie Next List pick, a Junior Library Guild Selection, received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and ALA Booklist, was an Edgar Award Finalist, and received both a 2018 Lupine Award from the Maine Library Association, and a 2018 Maine Literary Award from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance.

Her other novels include “The Door to January”, “The Lies They Tell”, and “The Missing Season” (HarperTeen, 2019). Her short fiction has placed in Writer’s Digest and Zoetrope: All Story contests, as well as appearing in such publications as Weirdbook and Creepy Campfire Stories for Grownups.

She holds a BA in English from the University of Maine. Currently, she still lives in her native state of Maine with her husband and sons, where she’s perpetually at work on her next novel.

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