If you haven’t yet heard of Jennifer Mathieu, you soon will. Jennifer writes a lot about real people and real events. She’s written about slut-shaming and kidnapped brothers; she’s also written about high-school feminist movements.
Currently, she is the author of four books: Devoted, The Truth About Alice, Afterward, and Moxie. Her most recent book, Moxie, is being made into a Netflix movie by Amy Poehler. (Add this to Netflix queue soon!)
Being a middle and high school English teacher, Mathieu understands the teenage experience better than most, and in her forthcoming novel, she combines realistic young adult experience with her own family’s immigration story.
Her fifth and forthcoming book, The Liars of Mariposa Island, is set to release on September 19, 2019. Pre-ordering is a thing—don’t forget!
But, since September is still a good ways off, here’s a rundown of the novel:
First and foremost, The Liars of Mariposa is a novel about family. With a multilayered narrative, and a timeline that jumps between 1986 and the 1950s/60s, the story traces the experiences of the Finney family.
The novel centers on the summer of 1986. Elena Finney is set to babysit the Callahans as they vacation on Mariposa Island for the summer months. With the arrival of the Callahans, Elena is provided an escape from her calculating, unstable mother. The summer of 1986 improves even more when she meets J.C., the new boy in town.
Elena’s brother, Joaquin, has similar sentiments about his mother and her manipulation. A recent high school graduate, Joaquin wants to move to California and find his father.
Elena and Joaquin are the novel’s primary narratives, yet their story is inextricably linked to their mother’s story. Their mother, whom both children struggle to understand and connect with, came to America as a teenager, fleeing the Cuban revolution.
Mathieu’s The Liars of Mariposa explores the complex dynamics of a family’s history, showing how a tangled web of lies can create destructive secrets. In the midst of the Finney family’s hidden history, they also discover the depths of true love.
According to Mathieu, the structure of the book is different from her previous novels, but this story is much more personal for her. During the 1960s and the reign of Fidel Castro, Mathieu’s own mother immigrated to the USA as a teenager.
The Liars of Mariposa will be released in September 2019—don’t forget to check it out! You can also read Mathieu’s other four novels while we anticipatedly await for the release of her newest book.