JAN ELIZABETH WATSON received her MFA from Columbia University. Her first novel, Asta in the Wings, was published by Tin House Books, a small literary press. She lives in Maine.
What if a teacher’s most promising pupil is also her most dangerous? A tautly plotted psychological thriller, as intelligent as it is mesmerizing
What Has Become of You follows Vera Lundy, an aspiring crime writer and master of self-deprecation who, like many adults, has survived adolescence but hasn’t entirely overcome it. When she agrees to fill in for a private school English teacher on maternity leave, teaching The Catcher in the Rye to privileged girls, Vera feels in over her head. The students are on edge, too, due to the recent murder of a local girl close to their age.
Enter Jensen Willard. At fifteen she’s already a gifted writer but also self-destructive and eerily reminiscent of Vera’s younger self. As the two outcasts forge a tentative bond, a sense of menace enfolds their small New England town. When another student, new to the country, is imperiled by her beliefs, Vera finds herself in the vortex of dangerand suspicion.
With the threat of a killer at large, the disappearance of her increasingly worri-some pupil, and her own professional reputation at stake, Vera must thread her way among what is right by the law, by her students, and by herself. In this poignant page-turner, populated with beguiling characters and sharp social insights, coming-of-age can happen no matter how old you are.
PRAISE FOR JAN ELIZABETH WATSON AND ASTA IN THE WINGS
“A vivid and suspenseful narrative.”
– Margot Livesey, author of The Missing World and Criminals
“Her voice is unforgettable. . . . The novel rachets up an almost uncomfortable level of suspense.”
– The Christian Science Monitor
“Full of the wonderment and matter-of-factness of youth, and her eye-opening trip into reality is flawlessly executed.”
– Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Extraordinary debut novel . . . A cleverly constructed, beautifully written first novel from a gifted new writer.”
– Booklist (starred review)