• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of Girl One by Sara Flannery Murphy

Young adult Josie's origins--specifically her immaculate conception--have overshadowed everything else in her life. Now she must delve into the darkness of her history to try to save her mother--and uncover her own true identity.

Young adult Josie is Girl One, the first of nine baby girls who were famously conceived without male sperm years ago on the now-dismantled commune The Homestead.

Josie has spent her life plagued by criticism, misogyny, obsessed fans, and the weight of the fascinating, unusual circumstances of her conception. Yet she embraces her past and aims to further the scientific work of her deceased father figure, the director of the scientific advancements achieved on the commune, Dr. Joseph Bellanger. Josie's studies and desire to learn more about her "virgin birth" drive a wedge between Josie and her mother, and Josie isn't sure exactly why.

When her mother disappears, Josie begins to track down the other Girls, and together the young women discover strange, unique powers as they rely on each other and attempt to unravel their shared history. They're learning to trust that the circumstances of their creation do not determine their full identities--or what they're capable of.

Murphy presents the Girls as they emerge in all of their feminist, powerful glory. The men in their world are cruel, powerful, and frequently evil, but when they band together, the girls' superhuman abilities repeatedly shield them from the most grave danger--and unlock remarkable freedom for each of the women long plagued by their complicated histories. The journey isn't too easy, there are some identity realizations, love connections, and plot twists, and the ending of Girl One satisfied me.

I received a prepublication digital edition of this book through Farrar, Straus and Giroux and NetGalley.

Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?

Girl One reminded me at times of Body of Stars, but this book held together more successfully for me, and I believed in the characters and their situations more completely.


Both of the books felt like young adult reads to me.