Laurel Gray grew up in a poor neighbourhood with her parents and older sister Thalia. The Gray parents take the kids out of the neighbourhood but there are still family secrets and connections to the town, including what happened when Laurel's uncle was shot in a hunting accident. Laurel becomes pregnant during college after a single night with David and they get married, though there seem to be some lingering questions in Thalia's mind as to whether they belong together or not.
Laurel is woken in the middle of the night by a ghost beckoning her to her backyard. What she finds is her daughter (Shelby)'s best friend floating dead in the pool while a cousin from the poor neighbourhood is staying over. As questions are asked of Shelby and her cousin Bet, Laurel starts to question her past and the ghosts that haunt her. She struggles to keep her life together, keep her past from interrupting the present, and keep her husband and sister from killing each other.
Like Jackson's other novel I've read, Gods in Alabama, the plot sucks you in right away and you keep turning the pages until you're done. While I didn't find Gods in Alabama like this, I did find The Girl Who Stopped Swimming to be like a Jodi Picoult book where it's a family crisis and the characters and their personal problems are the premise of the book.
It's not the most believable book in the world, and I found some of the twists to be predictable, but that didn't take away from the entertainment value of the book, which was high! A great book!
First Line: "Until the drowned girl came to Laurel's bedroom, ghosts had never walked in Victorianna."