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In Girl Trouble, acclaimed writer Holly Goddard Jones examines small-town Southerners aching to be good, even as they live in doubt about what goodness is.

A high school basketball coach learns that his star player is pregnant--with his child. A lonely woman refIects on her failed marriage and the single act of violence, years buried, that brought about its destruction. In these eight beautifully written, achingly poignant, and occasionally heartbreaking stories, the fine line between right and wrong, good and bad, love and violence is walked over and over again.

In "Good Girl," a depressed widower is forced to decide between the love of a good woman and the love of his own deeply flawed son. In another part of town and another time, thirteen-year-old Ellen, the central figure of "Theory of Realty," is discovering the menaces of being "at that age": too old for the dolls of her girlhood, too young to understand the weaknesses of the adults who surround her. The linked stories "Parts" and "Proof of God" offer distinct but equally correct versions of a brutal crime--one from the perspective of the victim's mother, one from the killer's.

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"The beauty of these stories (and they are exhilarating) stems from how deeply we're pulled into this complex world, nudged to recognize the thin line between missed opportunity and despair, inarticulate love and loss." -- O Magazine

"Gritty, eloquent dispatches from the heartland...Jones' hauntingly accomplished language lifts the mundane to the level of profound tragedy." -- Chicago Tribune

"Jones' sparkling debut collection zeroes in on lonely searching souls making do in a quiet Kentucky town." -- People

"Holly Goddard Jones is blessed with wisdom beyond her years, a gimlet eye, and an enviable literary talent; her debut collection...is a fierce and exhilarating achievement." -- Claire Messud

"A grand debut of a writer who is assured, sensitive, and wonderfully skillful...A marvelous work of heartbreaking wisdom." -- Edward P. Jones

"Jones has a voice as expansive, complex, and beautiful as the country itself." -- Joshua Ferris

PRAISE FOR GIRL TROUBLE