The Book of Essie
The Book of Essie
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Annotation: This captivating novel of family, fame, and religion tells the story of the seventeen-year-old daughter of an evangelical preacher, star of the family's hit reality show, and the secret pregnancy that threatens to blow up their world.
Catalog Number: #6573264
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 319 pages
Availability: Indefinitely Out of Stock
ISBN: 0-525-52031-7
ISBN 13: 978-0-525-52031-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017032041
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
The youngest daughter of an Evangelical preacher-turned-reality TV star hatches a plan to wrangle her freedom—and expose the dark truth about her family—in Weir's (Between Expectations, 2011) debut novel.Esther Anne Hicks has spent her entire life in front of cameras: Six for Hicks is a Duggar-like American phenomenon, documenting the shiny, wholesome life of her parents and five siblings. So when Essie's ruthlessly calculating mother finds out her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, it's a matter to be discussed with the production office. She could abort, suggests production, or spend her pregnancy hiding out, off camera, in a villa on St. John and then give the baby up for adoption, although both of those are risky—there's always the possibility of someone finding out. The other option is marriage: They could stage a wedding, fast. And though she has no formal say in the matter, Essie has a candidate in mind: Roarke Richards, a senior at her high school and the only boy she knows who needs a way out as much as she does. With a wedding on the books, Essie enlists reporter Liberty Bell—who, in a previous life, was a high-profile hyperconservative teen blogger and who has family secrets of her own—to help sell their love story to America. And then, after the wedding, to help her seize the narrative and tell the real truth about her family. The question is: What cost is she willing to pay to tell it? The novel alternates between the perspectives of its three protagonists, though Essie, Roarke, and Liberty—while all deeply sympathetic—sound pretty much the same. But if the characters never quite have all the depth you might hope for, the well-paced plot is enough to keep the pages turning, and the unexpected tenderness between Essie and Roarke gives the novel genuine emotional punch.Sensitive if not particularly subtle.
Publishers Weekly
Weir-s topical but uneven debut chronicles what happens to 17-year-old Esther -Essie- Hicks-one of the children featured on the reality show Six for Hicks, who have grown up in front of conservative, religious television viewers-after she becomes pregnant. Essie-s father may be a famous evangelical preacher, but her ruthless mother, Celia, runs the family empire from behind the scenes. When her family discovers Essie is pregnant, it-s decided that she should marry, but whom? Essie slyly convinces Celia that Roarke Richards, captain of the high school baseball team, would be a perfect addition to the Hicks family. Roarke dislikes the Hicks family-s hypocrisy, but the offer of money for marriage will save his family from bankruptcy, pay for college, and financially secure his future. He is surprised that Essie knows his secret-he is gay-and only reluctantly agrees with her plan, but eventually he becomes a willing accomplice. Aiding the two is reporter Liberty Bell, who watched her sister die in a Ruby Ridge-like raid. Liberty-s history complements Essie-s present, but the author nonetheless struggles to fit her into the story. Weir-s narrative features some finely nuanced characters, but its villains lack dimension, which makes the ethical gymnastics Essie and her crew endure before the denouement more absurd than necessary. Though not without its faults, this is nevertheless an incisive novel. (June)

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Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
Reading Level: 9.0
Interest Level: 9+


"Both timelessly beautiful and unbelievably timely."—Chris Bohjalian, New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Flight Attendant 

A captivating novel of family, fame, and religion that tells the story of the seventeen-year-old daughter of an evangelical preacher, star of the family's hit reality show, and the secret pregnancy that threatens to blow their entire world apart.

Esther Ann Hicks--Essie--is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She's grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family's fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie's mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show's producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia's? Or do they try to arrange a marriage--and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media--through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell--Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom?

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