By Jennifer Gooch Hummer
Fiction Studio Books, $15.95, 328 pages
Girl Unmoored, by Jennifer Gooch Hummer, is a poignant coming-of-age story about 13-year-old Apron (an unfortunate typo on her birth certificate) who is experiencing all of the angst and emotion induced by teenage-dom. She is also grappling with the death of her mother and her father’s sudden relationship with the Portuguese home-care worker who cared for her mother before her death. To make matters worse, Apron’s only friend is befriended by the coolest girl in school and they begin a campaign to make Apron as isolated on the outside as she feels on the inside. It is only when Apron befriends a gay couple who own a flower shop that she begins to discover herself.
This book is full of interesting, whimsical characters and enough emotion to shine. In large part it does but author Jennifer Hummer has a tendency to apply metaphors to enough nouns that they become disruptive. “Boats bouncing on waves” is descriptive, but “boats bouncing up and down against waves like pigeons pecking at birdseed” is distracting. Instead of adding to the nuance of the moment, it detracts because it’s trying too hard. That lack of editing aside, Hummer captures the emotions of youth and all its inner turbulence with an evocative style that makes this an engaging read.