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Review and Q&A with Author | When All the Girls Are Sleeping by Emily Arsenault

Title: When All the Girls Are Sleeping
Author: Emily Arsenault
Publication date: July 13, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 448


For fans of People Like Us and The Cheerleaders comes an all new psychological suspense novel about one girl’s investigation into her friend’s sudden death and the unsettling possibility that a killer is still on the loose.

Windham-Farnswood Academy is beautiful, prestigious, historic–the perfect place for girls to prep for college. But every student knows all is not as it seems. Each January, the Winter Girl comes knocking. She’s the spirit who haunts the old senior dorm, and this year is no exception.

For Haley, the timing couldn’t be worse. This month marks the one-year anniversary of the death of her ex-best friend, Taylor. When a disturbing video of Taylor surfaces, new questions about her death emerge. And it actually looks like Taylor was murdered.

Now, as Haley digs into what really happened last year, her search keeps bringing her back to the Winter Girl. Haley wants to believe ghosts aren’t real, but the clues–and the dark school history she begins to undercover–say otherwise. Now it’s up to her to solve the mystery before history has a chance to repeat itself and another life is taken.

Author Bio & Links (taken from Emily Arsenault’s website)

I haven’t had a terribly interesting life, so I won’t share too many details. But the highlights include:
– When I was a preschooler and a kindergartner, I had a lazy eye and I was Connecticut’s “Miss Prevent Blindness,” appearing on pamphlets and television urging parents to get their kids’ eyes checked. I wore an eye patch and clutched a blonde doll wearing a similar patch. I imagine it was all rather maudlin, but at the time I wouldn’t have known that word.
– I wrote my first novel when I was in fifth grade. It was over a hundred pages and took me the whole school year to write. (It was about five girls at a summer camp. I’d never been to a summer camp, but had always wanted to attend one.) When I was all finished, I turned back to the first page, eager to read it all from the beginning. I was horrified at how bad it was.
– At age thirteen, I got to go to a real sleepaway camp. It was nothing like the book I had written.
– I studied philosophy in college. So did my husband. We met in a Hegel class, which is awfully romantic.
– I worked as an editorial assistant at Merriam-Webster from 1998-2002, and got to help write definitions for their dictionaries.
– My husband and I served in the Peace Corps together, working in rural South Africa. I miss Losasaneng, miss many of the people we met there, and dream about it often.
– I now live in Shelburne Falls, MA, with my husband and daughter. We have an adopted stray cat named Agatha who is very mysterious: we don’t know where she came from, how old she is, or if she actually likes us.



Rating: 4 out of 5.

Please note that I received an early review copy from the author. In no way does this affect my review; all opinions are my own!

When Emily Arsenault asked if we would be interested in reviewing her upcoming release, When All the Girls Are Sleeping, I eagerly accepted. As soon I read the book’s premise, I knew that I would not be passing up the chance to read the story early. I am constantly looking for new books that feature ghosts and/or haunted buildings. When All the Girls Are Sleeping has both!

When All the Girls Are Sleeping was a thoroughly enjoyable read! I won’t say too much about the book for fear of spoilers, but I will say that I did not foresee the end twist until about two or three lines before the big reveal. I love when clues to the big reveal are sprinkled throughout a book (after all, hindsight is 20/20!), but at the same time, they are hidden so well that my keen self was not able make the connection until after the fact. It is not often that I find a cleverly written YA book (especially within the mystery genre) in which I am unable to predict the book’s ending.


What inspired you to write When All the Girls Are Sleeping?

The college I attended (Mount Holyoke in Massachusetts) had a particular old dormitory that had a lot of ghost lore associated with it. There was a mysterious fourth story room that was always locked, from which students often claimed to hear eerie noises. The dorm also had some stories about a portrait of a woman in white that had once hung in the front sitting room. From these and other stories about that dorm, I created the fictionally haunted Dearborn Hall of When All the Girls are Sleeping. I thought it would be good starting point not only for a creepy, creaky ghost story, but also exploring some psychological themes of girlhood, difficult adolescent relationships, guilt, and memory.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I loved to read when I was a kid. When I was ten, I started writing stories, and by the time I was eleven I was writing a book. I knew from an early age that this was something that I loved, that I could lose myself in. It wasn’t until I was in my early thirties, though, that I wrote a book that I was confident I could pitch to agents and publishers.

Settle the debate: dogs or cats?

I wish I could settle this debate for you, but I am genuinely 50-50 on this. I love both. Sorry to be wishy-washy. 

As a follow-up question: do you have a writing companion?

Yes. A very thoughtful middle-aged gray cat named Bree. She likes sitting on manuscripts fresh out of the printer. She once puked on the manuscript that turned out to be my worst-reviewed book ever. I really should have taken her more seriously at the time. Surely she was trying to tell me something. 

Finally, is there anything you can share with us about your next work?

Recently I had to abandon a manuscript that wasn’t working, so I wish I had more to say about this. But I am now tentatively working on an adult novel that will have some suspense elements and will probably take place partially in the 90s. 

Where can I buy When All the Girls Are Sleeping?

You can buy When All the Girls Are Sleeping at your favorite local bookstore or through one of these links: AmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository, or IndieBound.

Have you read When All the Girls Are Sleeping? What are your thoughts on the book? Let me know in the comments below!

Published by Danielle

I am a licensed PreK-6 teacher who is also an avid reader and a Cat Mom. I love sharing the joy of reading with all of you!

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