Psalm for Lost Girls
by Bayerl, Katie

When the people of their town scramble to have her miracle-producing late sister canonized, Callie, who feels her beloved sister's memory would be tainted by religious associations, uncovers dangerous secrets behind the kidnapping of a local girl. A first novel. Simultaneous eBook.

When Katie Bayerl isn’t penning stories, she coaches teens and nonprofits to tell theirs. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has taught creative writing in schools and a variety of community settings. Katie has an incurable obsession with saints, bittersweet ballads, and murder. A Psalm for Lost Girls is her first novel.

Before she died, Callie's sister, Tess, was obsessed with the kidnapping of Ana Langone. Tess heard voices, which helped her save a few lives in their rundown city, but after Ana disappeared, the voices stopped being helpful. Not long after Tess' death, Ana has miraculously returned home, though her kidnapper is still on the loose, and bitter Callie has taken on her late sister's obsession. That would be complicated enough, but Callie's also dealing with lingering religious fervor for her late sister. Tess was widely considered a saint, and Callie's mother and priest are spearheading a campaign to get her canonized. Callie, however, is furious with how the deified version of her sister has subsumed the real Tess she knew and loved. Bayerl packs a lot into her debut, and while the preponderance of plot lines occasionally clutters the narrative, there are some bright spots, such as Callie's complex relationship to her sister, some thought-provoking questions about religion, and the creepy details surrounding Ana's case. Ideal for fans of both mysteries and character-driven novels. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Tess da Costa was believed to work miracles but lost street cred after failing to find Ana, a child abductee; when, months after Tess dies, Ana's found alive, Tess appears slated for sainthood—unless her sister, Callie, can stop it.Callie, white and wrapped in grief and anger, has no compassion to spare for Tess' followers, desperately coping with troubles of their own, or for Tess' Puerto Rican boyfriend, Danny, whom she recruits in her crusade. Callie's failing in school and at war with her hospital-receptionist single mom. Her feelings for Tess (and the church) are complicated. If Tess, 17, was the angel, Callie, 16, felt like her demonic twin. Tess' journal, excerpted throughout, reveals that being cast as saintly was no picnic, either. Not all plot elements mesh neatly. Callie and Danny's hunt for Ana's abductor, a plot thread explored partly from Ana's point of view, has gravitas; however resolved, a child abduction leaves lasting scars. While Callie's family hist ory takes up a fair chunk of plot real estate, she's the story's beating heart—scrappy, resentful, funny, and, above all, observant of her hardscrabble, working-class southeastern Massachusetts town and its denizens. Of Portuguese, Latino, and Irish descent (but not Cape Verdean), with strong cultural and religious (Roman Catholic) immigrant ties, they've struggled economically since the mills closed. Plot and pacing could be tighter, but packed with vivid cultural scenery, this ambitious debut offers readers a journey worth taking. (Fiction. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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