THE GIRLS OF SUMMER
THE debut of 2023. A compulsive and timely exploration of the complicated nature of memory and trauma, power and consent, victimhood and shame.
'That place has been my whole life. Everything I thought I knew about myself was constructed in those few months I spent within touching distance of the sea. Everything I am is because Alistair loved me.'
Rachel has been in love with Alistair since she was seventeen. Even though she hasn't seen him for sixteen years and she's now married to someone else. Even though she was a teenager when they met. Even though he is twenty years older than her. She's found it impossible to forget their summer together on a remote, sun-trapped Greek island. Until now.
When Rachel unexpectedly reconnects with a girl that she knew back then, she is forced to re-examine her memories of that golden summer and confront the truth about her relationship with Alistair and about her time working for an enigmatic and wealthy man on the island. And when Alistair returns, the pull of the past could prove impossible to resist...
PUBLISHED MAY 2023 with Transworld, Penguin Random House (UK) and St. Martin's Press, Macmillan (US).
Praise for The Girls of Summer
"A reckoning with the past comes in this startling debut... Katie Bishop was inspired by the #MeToo debates to write this perturbing tale of consent and control, and it packs an incredible punch... The dark undertow of an idyllic summer and the lies girls are told and tell themselves are captured with stark, affecting honestly and evocative prose."
"This debut should be on every summer reading list... a gripping read that is visceral and raw. Buy it."
"An intoxicating - and horrendously toxic - relationship sits at the heart of Katie Bishop's excellent debut novel. Bishop paints a devastating - but ultimately moving and very powerful - picture of a woman battling to make sense of her ordeal and rebuild her life."
Apple Books, Best of the Month review
"This promising first novel is a timely exploration of the way predatory older men seduce and manipulate young women...Bishop's unflinching dissection of male abuse and power and the strength of female solidarity deserves attention."
"Reminiscent of HBO's hit The White Lotus, Bishop's tale will draw readers in with its realistic depictions of the island. The obvious read-alike is My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (2020), and the plot-driven tension will appeal to fans of psychological suspense."
Booklist STARRED review pick
"Dark, timely, and thought-provoking. It's a must-read."
"Set to be one of the biggest debuts of the summer."
"This debut novel is the perfect beach read."
Good Morning America, Best Books of the Month
"Bishop's perceptive debut has a sharp understanding of how things were vs. how things are now. The actual story might be fiction, but there are so many truths threaded through the pages, and it makes for a powerful, compelling and suspenseful read."
"Propulsive, steamy and set in the most gorgeous location, this novel is one I'd love to just hop into like a Mary Poppins chalk drawing on the sidewalk."
The Sunday Paper
"This novel is unputdownable with mystery, relatable marriage woes, identity issues, a sense of urgencyand a bold new voice. This is THE book of the summer."
Katie Couric Media
"One of Penguin's buzziest debuts of 2023"
Country and Town House Magazine
"Atmospheric and powerful, The Girls of Summer is a propulsive examination of the line blurring trauma and love in a relationship, a distinction which—in a post #MeToo world—is more important than ever. Bishop has crafted a haunting, tense, psychological debut, and a final reckoning that will stick with me."
Carola Lovering, author of Tell Me Lies
"Moving seamlessly between past and present, body and mind, and myth and reality, The Girls of Summer is a searing study of the exploitation of girlhood’s naïveté and its far-reaching consequences. A poignant and lyrical exploration of the past’s power to haunt us, the novel expertly unravels the intricacies of relationships of all kinds to show the power dynamics that underlie each. Bishop is an undeniable master of emotional crescendos, guiding readers toward realizations that are at once shocking and inevitable. At once about a particular moment in history and timeless, The Girls of Summer will by turns seduce, entrance, devastate, and move anybody who has ever been young.”
Rachel Kapelke-Dale, author of The Ballerinas
"It lures you in then shakes you up. A very timely read about consent and control. I LOVED it."
Nikki May, author of Wahala
"It's been a long time since I've read such a compelling debut. Beautifully written, transportive, and thought-provoking, The Girls of Summer sizzles with suspense. It's the book I'll be recommending that all my girlfriends pack for their holidays this summer."
Lucy Clarke, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Castaways
"Katie Bishop's engrossingly dark debut summers with the seductive power of first love against a backdrop of truths too horrible to confront. This is a powerful story of exploitation and retribution. I loved it."
Louisa Reid, author of The Poet
"A mesmerizing, unsettling and gripping debut."
Catherine Ryan Howard, internationally bestselling author of 56 Days
"Smart, tense and on-the-nose about shame and coercion and the way we force our own painful histories into a narrative we can live with."
Tammy Cohen, author of Stop At Nothing
"Such a clever, subtle, simmering read of a sun-drenched summer romance that is not all it seems. Timely, powerful, and must-read material around consent and buried trauma."
Claire Daverley, author of Talking At Night
"The Girls of Summer is visceral, deeply sensory and urgent. An unsettling and vital book."
Hazel Barkworth, author of Heatstroke
"An absolutely scorching debut deftly mixing the glamour of an island holiday with shadows of coercive control. One of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year."
Alice Clark-Platts, author of The Cove
"Thought-provoking, timely and gripping, The Girls of Summer is the book of the summer."
Sarah Turner, Sunday Times bestselling author of Stepping Up