Recap: Seventh grade is a tough time for most people. But it’s especially rough for Apron Bramhall. Her mother died of cancer. Her father is dating an awful woman. And to top it all off, her name is Apron and she has red hair and freckles. But then she learns her father is going to become a father again — this time with his girlfriend, who’s also the Brazilian nurse who used to care for her mom. At the same time, her best friend decides to become best friends with one of the coolest girls in the seventh grade. If she thought her world couldn’t get any worse, it did.
But Jesus helps her get through it — KIDDING! Well, sort of. After seeing the musical Jesus Christ Superstar with a friend, she learns the actor who plays Jesus is related to one of her neighbors. Suddenly she’s seeing this Jesus person all the time, and he always seems to rescue her — like when she accidentally slaps her grandmother at her father’s wedding and later falls on the concrete outside.
Soon this guy, whose real name is Mike, becomes one of her closest friends. He and his boyfriend, Chad, are florists and offer Apron a summer job. Spending time with them opens her eyes to a whole new world — a world of adults who have found true love, adults who make decisions and make them proudly, adults that show Apron the kind of person she wants to become.
Analysis: Girl Unmoored is a coming-of-age story about a young teenager who truly has become unmoored. But man, is she strong. It’s that strength that allows her to make the most of her situation and grow up. It seems that everything in Apron’s life is falling apart, and becoming friends with Mike and Chad is an unexpected way to deal with it. After all, they are older than her; she’s never met any gay people before, and ultimately she learns that Chad has a devastating secret. Becoming friends with this couple is not what one would recommend for dealing with the death of a parent, the end of a friendship, and a pretty horrible stepmother. But they’re her lucky charms, and the reader starts to realize that on the inside, Apron is much older than 13.
One of the best parts about this story is the way it’s told. Written in first person, each chapter acts as a bridge to the next. It never really feels like anything happens in each chapter individually. Then suddenly, you’re at the end of the novel and realized you’ve just read something great. The changes in Apron and the growth in her character are subtle, but they’re there. The book reads like a diary, and the development sneaks up on the reader.
MVP: Apron. In a novel that starts off with such an empty girl, Apron is full by the end — full with friends, love, and excitement for the future, instead of dread.