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Publisher's Summary

Finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize for First Fiction

One of NPR's "Favorite Books of 2019"!

A Skimm Reads Pick

A Belletrist Book Club Pick

"This novel reads like a miracle." (NPR)

Consumed by the longing for a different life, a teenager flees her family and carefully slips into another - replacing a girl whose own sudden disappearance still haunts the town.

Fourteen-year-old Cindy and her two older brothers live in rural Pennsylvania, in a house with occasional electricity, two fierce dogs, one book, and a mother who comes and goes for months at a time. Deprived of adult supervision, the siblings rely on one another for nourishment of all kinds. As Cindy's brothers take on new responsibilities for her care, the shadow of danger looms larger and the status quo no longer seems tolerable.

So when a glamorous teen from a more affluent, cultured home goes missing, Cindy escapes her own family's poverty and slips into the missing teen's life. As Jude Vanderjohn, Cindy is suddenly surrounded by books and art, by new foods and traditions, and most important, by a startling sense of possibility. In her borrowed life she also finds herself accepting the confused love of a mother who is constitutionally incapable of grasping what has happened to her real daughter. As Cindy experiences overwhelming maternal love for the first time, she must reckon with her own deceits and, in the process, learn what it means to be a daughter, a sister, and a neighbor.

Marilou Is Everywhere is a powerful, propulsive portrait of an overlooked girl who finds for the first time that her choices matter.

©2019 Sarah Elaine Smith (P)2019 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"Marilou Is Everywhere is a novel of stunning emotional intelligence, and Cindy an unforgettable character, but it's Smith's writing that's the real star of the book.... The book is almost otherworldly in its beauty and power.... Fiction debuts this accomplished don't come along very often at all, and Marilou Is Everywhere proves that Smith is a writer of immense talent and rare imagination." (Michael Schaub, NPR)

"It’s a book brimming with longing, with heartbreak. It’s a coming-of-age by coming into somebody else.... And yet the novel is about more than just adolescent angst, a young girl’s longing to be somewhere else, someone else. Its universality lies in its generosity - its empathy for every character within it, regardless of his or her decisions, no matter how flawed. There is compassion for questionable actions rooted in longing. Reduced to those longings, are any of us so dissimilar?" (New York Times Book Review)

"Strange and gripping." (The New Yorker)

What listeners say about Marilou Is Everywhere

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Quirky heartbreaking and sweet

It took me a little bit to get into this audio book but I ended up enjoying it. It’s a pretty quirky story but it’s really well written and all the characters are sort of heartbreaking and endearing in their own way. I would definitely read this author again.

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Disappointing

Was a very slow moving book with no real climax. The whole plot was a little disappointing. The imagery felt over done and didn't move the story along or add to it but just drug it out.

1 person found this helpful