God Spare the Girls by Kelsey McKinney (William Morrow, 2021)
In God Spare the Girls, Abigail and Caroline are the daughters of celebrity evangelical pastor Luke Nolan. Always on display for the congregation, the pair are expected to be pious, pure, and polite at all times. While they aren’t always able to abide by scripture exactly, Abigail and Caroline more or less believe in their religion and their father — until one revelation changes everything.
After they learn of a terrible sin committed by their father, Abigail and Caroline’s world is turned upside down. Now, they must decide whether he is worth forgiving and what faith really means. While they work to figure it out, the sisters flee their parents’ home to the ranch their grandmother left them and live there together.
Meanwhile, Abigail is planning a wedding to a man she doesn’t love, and Caroline is dealing with a boy who fell too hard for her after they committed a sin of their own.
Author Kelsey McKinney is a strong and compelling storyteller and has crafted a captivating small town world full of gossip and intrigue. God Spare the Girls beautifully explores the challenges of young womanhood in the context of a religion that has its own very strict ideas about what it means to be a good daughter, sister, and wife.
Above all else, God Spare the Girls is a touching and powerful story of a bond between two sisters navigating a world and life they never chose. It is a beautifully rendered spin on classic coming-of-age tales, with the characters navigating intricate layers of relationships with themselves, with each other and with their faith.