Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body, by Megan Milks
A queer coming-of-age novel about a girlhood, interrupted, that twists into a genre-bending excavation of gender, identity, and mystery.
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.
"Girl detectives, adolescent angst, all soundtracked to Fiona Apple—Milks's first novel is a mid-'90s marvel, one that acutely captures the surreal Tidal-wave of teenage emotions and the "private heat" of girlhood." —Oprah Daily
"As much a joyful romp as it is a serious exploration of coming of age (no matter how old you are), mental illness, and identity. . . . A page-turner." —Shondaland
“A delightfully weird and very queer reimagining of 90s YA nostalgia.” —Autostraddle
“Lambda-nominated Megan 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.” —Booklist, starred review
"Emotionally complex and illuminating" —Publishers Weekly
“Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body is queer dynamite. I devoured this book in one sitting, completely engrossed by the wild plot and by Megan Milks’s stellar, singular voice. This is a book of bodies, sure, but it’s also a book about the messiness of them, their complications and intractability, their frustrating unknowability. Their mutability. Their wonder. This novel is a bright spot of brilliance. I absolutely adored it.” —Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things
“What if all those nineties book series about girlhood had been truly honest about the process of growing up? You’d get this wonderful book: a comforting facade that opens into an entrancing and wildly innovative gut-renovation of the genre, with an interior that lays bare the hidden workings of life I wish I’d known on my own first run through adolescence. Brilliant.” —Torrey Peters, author of Detransition, Baby
“I tore through this book in a day and was still thinking about it weeks later. It’s the smartest novel I’ve read in a long time and the most politically astute. Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body is a coming-of-age novel about growing up through coming-of-age narratives, then reappropriating those narratives from the inside and writing your own freedom. It’s also compulsively readable, hugely moving, and more fun than the pop classics it makes free with. Magnificent.” —Sandra Newman, author of The Heavens
"Megan Milks's Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body is both delightfully strange and deeply familiar. The classic female coming-of-age novel is not simply queered; the casual horror of it is made manifest with a powerful imagination, both playful and sinister, sweet and surreal and emotionally real. I loved this deceptively fun book." —Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions & Criticisms
“Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body, a thrilling and surprising crystallization of the best and worst parts of growing up in the nineties, lit up all of the pleasure receptors in my brain. It’s intimate, fearless, and a funhouse of form and style. Megan Milks is a supremely generous writer whose work is daring and alive.” —Patrick Cottrell, author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace
“Megan Milks has combined the boundlessness of speculative fiction, the raucous joys and radical presence of YA storytelling, and the ingenuity of an avant-garde sensibility with such damn good lyric prose that it made me grin more times than I can count. Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body retrieves the thrill of early novel reading from the corridors of memory and infuses it into a book that is genuinely unique, entirely new, and frankly delightful.” —Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox
“Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body is a shapeshifter of a novel: an adventure story, a feminist critique, and a note from your best friend. Every time it changes form, it magically, seamlessly changes feeling. You never know what’s coming next, and it’s always just right.” —Sofia Samatar, author of A Stranger in Olondria
“One of the brashest, brainiest, funniest, most electric novels I’ve read in years, containing one of the most winning protagonists to ever bless queer fiction in the character of Margaret Worms. Milks smashes up genres in a glorious free-for-all and emerges with a genuine masterpiece.” —Casey Plett, author of Little Fish
Imprint: The Feminist Press
Publication Date: 30 September 2021