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MARILOU IS EVERYWHERE

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A gripping novel about a girl who wants so badly not to be herself, she is willing to assume someone else’s identity as an avenue to escape.

Fourteen-year-old Cindy and her two older brothers live in rural Pennsylvania, in a house with occasional electricity, two fierce dogs, one book, and a mother who comes and goes for months at a time. Deprived of adult supervision, the siblings rely on each other for nourishment of all kinds. As Cindy's brothers take on new responsibilities for her care, the shadow of danger looms larger and the status quo no longer seems tolerable.

So when a glamorous teen from a more affluent, cultured home goes missing, Cindy escapes her own family's poverty and slips into the missing teen's life. As Jude Vanderjohn, Cindy is suddenly surrounded by books and art, by new foods and traditions, and most importantly, by a startling sense of possibility. In her borrowed life she also finds herself accepting the confused love of a mother who is constitutionally incapable of grasping what has happened to her real daughter. As Cindy experiences overwhelming maternal love for the first time, she must reckon with her own deceits, and in the process, learn what it means to be a daughter, a sister, and a neighbor.

Wrenching and evocative, Marilou Is Everywhere is a portrait of an overlooked girl who finds for the first time that her choices matter. Sarah Elaine Smith is already an accomplished poet, and this novel announces her as a major new voice in fiction.

Forthcoming from Riverhead Books, summer 2019