Publisher's Note:  

On the grubby outskirts of Paris, Grace restores bric-a-brac, mends teapots, re-sets gems. She calls herself Julie, says she’s from California, and slips back to a rented room at night. Regularly, furtively, she checks the hometown paper on the Internet. Home is Garland, Tennessee, and there, two young men have just been paroled. One, she married; the other, she’s in love with. Both were jailed for a crime that Grace herself planned in exacting detail. The heist went bad—but not before she was on a plane to Prague with a stolen canvas rolled in her bag. And so, in Paris, begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game as Grace’s web of deception and lies unravels—and she becomes another young woman entirely.

Unbecoming is an intricately plotted and psychologically nuanced heist novel that turns on suspense and slippery identity. With echoes of Alfred Hitchcock and Patricia Highsmith, Rebecca Scherm’s mesmerizing debut is sure to entrance fans of Gillian Flynn, Marisha Pessl, and Donna Tartt.

Unbecoming: A Novel

by Rebecca Scherm

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Overall Review:  

If you haven't already heard this book being talked about, I am sure you will soon. This book is worth reading. If you are looking for a book very similar of The Girl on the Train, Unbecoming will satisfy your craving for more intrigue and mystery. Told through the smart  and witty narration of Grace (or Julie, as some of her closest friends know her), this book is one that will keep you reading and clear your calendar!


Grace might restore antiques for a living, but her past isn't quite so simple. She currently resides in Paris, but she comes from a small town in the United States. She once was married and in love, but now she is lonely and has secrets she can't divulge. She used to live a life that she felt was hers, and now she wonders if she is living in reality, or a dream. At times I was able to solve the puzzles that were set out in this book, and at others, I was just as surprised as the characters at the turns their lives took. Grace is a woman who may live a simple life, but I really enjoyed slipping into her shoes temporarily. Her life seemed scary, exciting and dangerous. My life looks pretty dull in comparison.


One surprising thing about Grace is that though she seems innocent and young, she has quite a history; some of the moves she took after moving to Paris were pretty risky. You'd think a person would learn from their past mistakes, right? But Grace doesn't seem to see the connection, or she just can't help herself. Suddenly she finds herself in a very similar situation as to the one that made her leave the United States in the first place. And now where can she run to? That's pretty much all I can say without giving the whole story away. If you want to learn any more about Grace and her story, you'll just have to read it for yourself!

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  8 religious exclamations; 2 mild obscenities; 2 religious profanities; 2 derogatory names; 11 scatological words; 2 anatomical terms; 27 F-Word derivatives


Violence/Gore:  A character is arrested for robbing a house; a murder/manslaughter is suspected; a character is so scared he has a stroke; a man abuses his girlfriend physically, threatens her and has someone attack her with hot lye; a character steals money; a character is mentioned to die from a stroke; a boy confesses to killing a bird; a car crash occurs, the drivers are minors that had been drinking previously; a man is said to have assaulted his girlfriend and go to prison; a character is threatened with a knife; a character is found dead, suicide is suspected; a man is mentioned to beat a woman in anger; a character hangs self; a man harasses a woman and calls her names; a man threatens a woman verbally and physically, some blood is mentioned to be flowing from a head wound on the woman; a character steals several high value items.


Sex/Nudity:  Minors kiss; a teen couple "makes out"; a girl notes her developing body; an adult couple is mentioned/implied to have sex; two minors (13 year olds) lose their virginity, the girl reports that it hurts and some blood is briefly mentioned; a minor sends a boy sexually explicit text message pictures; child porn is mentioned in no detail; a minor boy is shirtless in front of a girl in a non-sexual way; a woman touches herself pleasurably and in a sexual way; a painting is referred to as being pornographic; a man and woman who are unmarried have sex in a briefly descriptive scene; a woman is mentioned to get her nipples pierced; a desperate woman sells sex to make money; lewd sexual references are made in one conversation; a woman cheats on her husband; lingerie that is given as a gift is mentioned; a man and woman have sex in one brief scene; a man and woman touch each other in prelude to sex

Mature Subject Matter:  

Divorce, theft, acts of crime, drunk driving, suicide, masturbation, domestic violence, infidelity, sexting, teenage sex.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

A boy is mentioned to be in possession of pot; a minor smokes at school; adults drink frequently; adults smoke; minors drink, get drunk; a car crash occurs, the drivers are minors that had been drinking previously.

Reviewed By Lydia
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