Mulhauser tackles a wealth of issues in his debut novel, Sweetgirl. While a blizzard is in progress, Percy searches for her addict mother in the woods of northern Michigan. When Percy arrives at Shelton‘s (the local drug dealer) house to retrieve her mom, her mom is not there but a crying baby is upstairs. Percy takes the baby and runs. Percy turns to Portis for help. Meanwhile Shelton wakes from his drug-induced slumber and begins to look for the baby so that its mother will still love him.
Percy wrestles with growing up in a less-than-ideal situation, trying to save a baby from a similar plight and her relationship with her sister, who managed to escape. Percy takes on the role of being a mother to her own mother but must decide what the future holds for her. Mulhauser’s account feels very real and raw. The violence and hurt coupled with the biting environment of snow and starkness bring this story to life. The reader will immediately connect to the troubled characters and even though the reader figures out things are not going to end well for most of the players, they will want to finish the book and contemplate how things went awry.
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