Start making room in your bookcase, readers. We’ve got a book you’ll want to shelve there: Sara Faring’s debut The Tenth Girl. We’re thrilled to be the first to share this upcoming release with you. Faring’s young adult novel is a tense gothic thriller that promises to leave readers on the edge of their seats. But don’t just take our word for it, check out the official book announcement:
Argentine-American author Sara Faring’s genre-busting international debut The Tenth Girl was acquired by Erin Stein at Imprint in a two-book pre-empt. Inspired by the author’s Argentine family history and lore, the novel follows a young woman fleeing the country’s 1970s Dirty War who joins the staff of a notorious haunted boarding school on a remote icy cliff in Patagonia. She befriends a strange young man with a terrible secret as shadowy figures roam the halls at night and the students fall ill to a mysterious illness. The gothic mystery builds to a jaw-dropping twist when they need to escape from more than just the cursed manor. Author Sara Faring is represented by Sarah Bedingfield at Levine Greenberg Rostan, and film rights are represented by Michelle Kroes at CAA. The novel is set for release in fall 2019.
Did that synopsis already leave you wanting more? Us too. That’s why we sat down to chat with author Sara Faring and her publisher, Erin Stein, about what readers can expect from The Tenth Girl.
Bookish: Erin, as a publisher, what do you look for when you acquire a book, and what drew you to The Tenth Girl?
Erin Stein: Regardless of genre or theme or even style, I want to feel so immersed in the story that I can’t put it down. When I read The Tenth Girl, I was immediately sucked in by the gothic atmosphere and Mavi’s journey… and then these little hints indicated something else was going on in this book. As a reader I was desperate to solve the mystery, and couldn’t put it down. It was exhilarating. I finished reading late at night and could not go to sleep afterward. I was too excited!
Bookish: Sara, The Tenth Girl is inspired by your family history. Was there a particular memory or anecdote that sparked your creative process?
Sara Faring: My mother left Argentina for the United States at the height of the 1970s Dirty War—she was more or less the same age that I am now. Scraps of her memories from that time meshed into the magical bedtime stories she told during my childhood—sanitized scraps, of course, otherwise I never would’ve fallen asleep!
As I got older, my imagination ran wild with these thrilling (and gruesome) stories that hinted at the horrors and the heroism of that period—a time in Argentina’s history infamous for the lack of trust between colleagues, friends, and even family.
It was difficult to imagine, since Argentines value family over almost everything. My ninety-year-old grandmother jokingly calls my Argentine family the matriarcado (matriarchy in Spanish) because there are so many of us women, and we have a group chat (named exactly that, of course) that we write in everyday.
The Tenth Girl is a mind-bending psychological thriller, but it is anchored by a fierce and clever Argentine heroine (Mavi) and the fantastical lore of my youth—as a tribute to my mother, my grandmother, and the matriarcado. Of course, I’m elated that—per the group chat—none of them could put The Tenth Girl down.
Bookish: What kind of reader is this book perfect for?
ES: This book is perfect for all kinds of readers from ages 15 to 100. It truly crosses genres and ages in a uniquely fresh way. I can’t even speak to all the genres covered in this story because it will reveal too much. It feels as fresh as something like Ready Player One—another book that hooked different readers in different ways, from sci-fi to adventure to pure nostalgia. Here we have a young woman trying to escape her country’s turmoil, a mesmerizing young man, and a haunted mansion with a story of its own… and I have to stop there! It also reminds me of Gone Girl, because after you finish reading, you immediately beg all your friends to read it, too, just so you can talk about that ending. It’s going to kill me waiting for this book to be published, because I want to talk about it right now!
Bookish: The book is set in the 1970s during Argentina’s Dirty War. Sara, what was your research process like?
SF: Travel and snacks were the foundation of my research process. I’ll explain: Exploring Patagonia myself was a crucial component of writing The Tenth Girl. Once you have glimpsed the Patagonian landscape, with its rugged peaks, aquamarine lakes, and oddly lush desert plains, you can never forget its textures and colors. They become imprinted on your mind, like the best gothic settings. For me, Patagonia is one of the rare spots in our contemporary world that embodies solitude, and I knew it was meant to be the setting for Mavi’s singular journey.
Back in Buenos Aires, in order to gather necessary historical anecdotes, I plied my city relatives who had lived through the 1970s Dirty War with alfajores and mate cocido (both delicious—please Google & enjoy!). They also shared countless Patagonian myths with me and screened Argentine films like the thriller Cautiva.
Bookish: Erin, what’s your favorite thing about working with Sara?
ES: Sara is fiercely intelligent and skilled at her craft. I’m a very jaded reader, so that fact that the big twist in the book surprised me is what impressed me the most. I can’t wait to get my hands on her next book.
Bookish: Mavi, the book’s protagonist, goes on a harrowing journey, escaping the brutalities of war to end up in a haunted manor. What else can you tell us about her?
SF: Mavi is a real porteña (the term for a Buenos Aires native)—she’s recently orphaned and venturing into the extreme remoteness of rural Patagonia, but she approaches the situation with courage, kindness, and the infamously sharp Argentine wit.
Without spoiling the hairpin twist at the end, let’s just say that Mavi could well represent today’s woman. When her very survival is threatened, she does more than resist—she fights back. The Tenth Girl is not a story about a woman being faced with the worst obstacles of her life and merely surviving—it’s about a woman turning the tables on fate itself, in a way readers will never see coming.
Bookish: The summary hints at the novel’s gothic atmosphere. Sara, were you inspired by any gothic novels or writers?
SF: Definitely. I like to think that The Tenth Girl is in conversation with so many books I’ve read and loved, contemporary or not. There’s Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, Sarah Waters’ The Little Stranger, Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind, anything by the Brontë sisters… as well as, dare I say, television shows like Black Mirror. Because isn’t technology a kind of strange and frightening magic to the uninitiated?
Bookish: Erin, if you could describe this book in one word, what would it be?
Born in Los Angeles, Sara Faring is a multi-lingual Argentine-American fascinated by literary puzzles. After working in investment banking at J.P. Morgan, she worked at Penguin Random House. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in International Studies and from the Wharton School in Business. She currently resides in New York City. The Tenth Girl is her first novel.
Erin Stein is publisher of Imprint, part of Macmillan Publishers. She publishes commercial fiction for all ages, develops new intellectual property, and partners with brands to develop original content. Before launching Imprint, she was at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers where she built a bestselling licensed publishing program while overseeing classic publishing brands and editing a select list of titles. Prior to that Erin was at HarperCollins Children’s Books, TOKYOPOP, and Time Inc. Custom Publishing.