Margaret and the mystery of the missing body

Megan Milks

Book - 2021

"In MARGARET AND THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING BODY, twelve-year-old Margaret Worms is the head detective of her friends' mystery club, Girls Can Solve Anything, but by high school the club has disbanded and Margaret has developed an eating disorder that sends her to a treatment center. Once there, Margaret goes on a quest of recovery and self-discovery that combines nineties girl group series and choose-your-own-adventures with a queer and trans coming-of-age narrative"--

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Subjects
Genres
Bildungsromans
Published
New York, NY : Feminist Press 2021.
Edition
First Feminist Press edition
Language
English
Physical Description
267 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
9781952177804
1952177804
Main Author
Megan Milks (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Margaret was once a gifted girl detective and president of the Girls Can Solve Anything club. With her best friends by her side, no caper was too complicated. Now, as a teenager, nothing makes sense. Her friends, older brother, and peers constantly make irresponsible decisions that confound Margaret, but it's her own body that becomes the ultimate subject of confusion. She develops a serious eating disorder, and her friends are too involved with their own reckless lives to notice. After a full spin out of control, Margaret enters in-patient treatment, where she finally meets people with whom she can have deep, meaningful conversations about how bogus it can be to grow up. Within the world of the treatment facility, Margaret feels more like herself than she has since the peak of the Girls Can Solve Anything club—she's even investigating mysteries again. The only thing left for Margaret to solve is how to merge all of the parts of herself into one whole person, not defined by body or material. Lambda-nominated Milks has knocked this coming-of-age meditation out of the park, blending magical realism with tween nostalgia and teen angst, resulting in a totally accurate-feeling account of the chaos of growing up. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Milks's engaging debut novel (after the collection Kill Marguerite) blends the tropes of classic girl fiction like Nancy Drew with a 16-year-old sleuth's tumultuous exploration of her queer identity. Margaret Worms, president of the Girls Can Solve Anything club, now spends her days alone, operating as the club's sole remaining member in an attempt to forget her now-fractured friendships and developing anorexia. But when her disorder leads to repeated fainting spells and visits to her doctor, Margaret is shipped off to the Briarwood Residential Treatment Center, where she encounters the magnetic and rebellious Carrie, a roommate and romantic interest; kindhearted doctors; and even a suffragist ghost—all of whom prompt Margaret's reckoning with her own body, gender identity, and desires. Weaving together flashbacks, pop culture references (GCSA originated as the Shady Bluff Baby-Sitters Club), and accounts of old GCSA cases, Milks's dynamic, fast-paced novel beams with wonderful insight, even as its various timelines and registers do not always meld into a consonant whole. The book's exploration of eating disorders, mental illnesses, and healing is superbly nuanced, as Milks carefully dives into the clinic's various characters' histories. Throughout, this is emotionally complex and illuminating. Agent: Rachel Crawford, MacKenzie Wolf Literary Agency (Sept.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"In MARGARET AND THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING BODY, twelve-year-old Margaret Worms is the head detective of her friends' mystery club, Girls Can Solve Anything, but by high school the club has disbanded and Margaret has developed an eating disorder that sends her to a treatment center. Once there, Margaret goes on a quest of recovery and self-discovery that combines nineties girl group series and choose-your-own-adventures with a queer and trans coming-of-age narrative"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A queer coming-of-age novel about a girlhood interrupted by an eating disorder, only to twist into a genre-bending excavation of gender, identity, and literary mystery.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

“A delightfully weird and very queer reimagining of 90s YA nostalgia.” Autostraddle

"Queer dynamite." —Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things

Meet Margaret. At age twelve, she was head detective of the mystery club Girls Can Solve Anything. Margaret and her three best friends led exciting lives solving crimes, having adventures, and laughing a lot. But now that she's entered high school, the club has disbanded, and Margaret is unmoored—she doesn't want to grow up, and she wishes her friends wouldn't either. Instead, she opts out, developing an eating disorder that quickly takes over her life. When she lands in a treatment center, Margaret finds her path to recovery twisting sideways as she pursues a string of new mysteries involving a ghost, a hidden passage, disturbing desires, and her own vexed relationship with herself.

Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body reimagines nineties adolescence—mashing up girl group series, choose-your-own-adventures, and chronicles of anorexia—in a queer and trans coming-of-age tale like no other. An interrogation of girlhood and nostalgia, dysmorphia and dysphoria, this debut novel puzzles through the weird, ever-evasive questions of growing up.