Tess teaches English at Haywood, a prestigious boarding school on the Maine coast, where her 17-year-old son, Rudy, is a student. Early one morning, Rudy texts Tess asking her to pick him up near the beach. Tess finds Rudy in a bloodstained sweatshirt, and he reveals that he had a fight with his girlfriend, Lila. A few hours later, Tess receives a phone call from Haywood’s headmistress informing her that Lila’s body has been found on the beach.
What sets this book apart from much of Goodman's prior work is that the true evil here is not one bound by legend, literary fantasy or the supernatural. It is entirely more earthbound, which makes it that much more frightening. In the end, The Sea of Lost Girls provides what all good psychological thrillers should: complex characters and situations coupled with unpredictable and unexpected plot twists that keep you on the edge right up to the final pages. And, of course, with Goodman being a well-read teacher of literature, there is plenty of lore.
...[an] exciting, if flawed, psychological thriller ... Unfortunately, most of the characters, including the irritating Tess, grate, and the culprit’s identity comes as no surprise. Still, readers will have a hard time putting this one down thanks to Goodman’s storytelling powers.