By Jessica Schiefauer, translated by Saskia Vogel
An award-winning, magical contemporary novel about three teenage girls whose exploration of fantasy threatens everything they know of reality.
Winner of Sweden's most prestigious literary prize for young readers, Girls Lost is a thriller featuring three teenage girls: Kim, Bella, and Momo. The three occupy a challenging limbo between childhood and adulthood, made only more difficult by the steady provocation of their malicious male classmates and pubescent bodies that are changing beyond their control. They are on the precipice of a grown-up world that seems to be broken into two groups: male and female; public and private; assailant and target. Eager to escape, the girls seek refuge in Bella’s greenhouse, a free zone where their imaginations run wild and their talents can flourish.
After their classmates’ violations escalate, the three friends plant a strange seed in the greenhouse, and a shimmering, magical flower blossoms. Intrigued, they drink the nectar from the flower, and suddenly find themselves transformed from girls to boys until the next morning. The three return each night to drink from the flower, anxious to explore their world — and new, older male friends — with agency and freedom. As they fall deeper into the boys’ world, they discover a new reality, one of power and violence, of gangs and drugs. When their nightly escapades turn darker, two of the teens grow wary, ready to turn back and face the reality of womanhood; but Kim is determined to see their discovery to its catastrophic, fiery end.
In this tale, the body is a battlefield, and masculinity is a drug. Brilliantly poetic and deeply poignant, this magical story was adapted into an internationally-renowned feature film exploring how we shape our identity, and how we cope with our own transformations.