Ocean State by Stewart O’Nan 226 pages

The first sentence of Ocean State reads, “When I was in eighth grade my sister killed another girl.” Set for the most part in 2009 in a town in Rhode Island, the novel tells what leads up to and what happens after the murder from four women’s experiences-the murderer, Angel, the sister of the murderer, Marie, the mother of the murderer, Carol and the murdered girl, Birdy. As we get a clearer picture of each of these characters, we feel anger, shame and empathy for all of them.

This is the perfect book for readers who want to instantly become involved in a book. Although this is not a “typical” O’Nan novel, like most of his works, Ocean State has clear, concise prose, relatable characters and a very well-constructed plot.

Ocean State by Stewart O’Nan 226 pages

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