When 16-year-old Abigail's mother dies in Scotland--leaving a faded photo, a weirdly cryptic letter, and a one-way ticket to America--she feels nothing. Why should she? Her mother gave her away when she was a baby, leaving her to grow up on an anti-nuclear commune and then in ugly foster homes. But the letter is a surprise in more ways than one: Her father is living in California. What's more, Abigail discovers she has an eighteen-year-old sister, Becky. And the two are expecting Abigail to move in with them.
After struggling to overcome her natural suspicions of a note from beyond the grave (not to mention anything positive) Abigail grows close to her newfound sister. But then Becky is found dead, the accidental victim of an apparent drug overdose. As Abigail wrestles with her feelings and compiles a "Book of Remembrance" of her sister's short life, she uncovers a horrifying global plot aimed at controlling teen behavior: one that took her sister's and mother's lives, with vast implications.
Helen FitzGerald is the second youngest of thirteen children. She grew up in the small town of Kilmore, Victoria, Australia, and studied English and History at the University of Melbourne. Via India and London, Helen came to Glasgow University where she completed a Diploma and Masters in Social Work. She worked as a probation and parole officer for ten years. She’s married to screenwriter Sergio Casci, and they have two children.
I chose this background and setting for my main character in Deviant for many reasons. First, the girls I met at this hostel were isolated. They had little or no family, and had learned to distance themselves from carers whose commitment to them only lasted as long as the job description and pay check. They were also confused: by their difficult histories, and by the lack of loving direction about what would happen next.
But the girls also had strength and determination that children from luckier, more sheltered, backgrounds did not have. They’d experienced crises I couldn’t imagine dealing with. They’d been used and groomed and disappointed by almost all the adults they ever knew. As a result, they’d learned to get by on their own, to adapt quickly to different settings and circumstances. They’d learned to survive.
What better protagonist for a thriller – a young woman who is confused and isolated, yet determined and tough. An outsider, a fish out of water, a young woman who can finally take control of her own life, using all the skills she’s gathered in order to survive an unhappy, tumultuous childhood.
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