We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781802795165

Price: £18.99

Select a format:


Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

‘No other writer has ever made me laugh and cry as much as Catherine Gray’
Daisy May Cooper

‘Tender, lush and electric; a wild, heartbreaking, exhilarating ride’
Daisy Buchanan

‘Exquisite, stunning, executed brilliantly’
Poorna Bell

Do we become who we are because of our parents, or in spite of them?

Fern’s mother is a social climber and a former ballet dancer who lives a plush life in a London townhouse.

Fern’s father only climbs if there’s a bottle at the top, has an IQ of 133 and lives hand-to-mouth in Californian motels.

Aged fourteen, Fern has spent equal time with each of her parents. That is, until an unexpected visitor triggers a life-changing dilemma: whether she should get on a plane to London to be with her mother, or stay in California with her father. Here, Fern’s narrative splices in two.

Two possible lives, one person. Each Fern will grow in wildly different, but eerily similar directions. Both must determine who they want to be – and how they deal with a thorny problem which threatens to undo them all: a murder.

Warm and brilliantly wise, this is the irresistible fiction debut from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober.


Compulsive, edible, I devoured it
Holly Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of Quit Like A Woman
No other writer has ever made me laugh and cry as much as Catherine Gray
Daisy May Cooper
Catherine Gray has skipped past 'first novel' territory and gone straight to veteran writer with her first fiction offering - a clear-voiced, compelling and deeply satisfying read. Her heroine is complex, infuriating and unignorable as she moves through dual landscapes of family trauma, secrets and emotional bad habits. It's a voyage that in other hands might risk clumsiness but Gray's warm-hearted, funny writing and empathetic understanding of addiction in all its forms carries her and us through enjoyable plot twists and resolution. Very hard to put down, and will leave a warm glow for a long while afterwards.'
Sophie Walker, author and founder of the Women's Equality Party
Catherine Gray is one of my favourite writers because she isn't afraid to take risks. And in this incisive, debut novel she does not disappoint, pushing the plot to thrilling heights. As always, Gray's writing is inspiring, fearless, and viscerally entertaining
Laura Cathcart Robbins, bestselling author of Stash
I couldn't wait to get my hands on Catherine Gray's fiction debut and it exceeded all expectations. This is a dazzling, whip smart story that explores the dance between nature and nurture, choice and fate. With rare honesty and humour, Catherine touches on some of the most tender, vulnerable aspects of humanity. I couldn't put it down
Laura McKowen, bestselling author of We Are the Luckiest
In this ambitious kaleidoscope of a debut novel, Catherine Gray tells the completely absorbing tale of two possible lives for the same troubled heroine who must find her own way against the highest of personal stakes. Fierce and unflinching about so many important themes - family and friendship, memory and art, addiction and recovery - Versions of a Girl is unputdownable
Kerri Maher, author of The Paris Bookseller
A delicious page-turner; expertly plotted and bursting with warmth and wit. Catherine Gray creates two irresistible, heartbreakingly real protagonists out of one girl, deftly weaving together threads of mystery, family drama and tender coming-of-age(s)
Jessie Gaynor, author of The Glow
Versions Of A Girl was that rare literary find: something that does something fresh and unique but without it feeling like a gimmick because the execution is as strong as the premise. At its heart is a central question: how much do our parents shape who we are? This question gives the novel shape and focus but its the fully-formed and brilliant characters that propel it forward. Catherine's writing is beautiful and I was captivated by Fern/ Flick's journeys. One of the best debuts I've read in a long time
Caroline Corcoran, bestselling author of Through the Wall
I LOVED this book; tender, lush and electric, a wild, heartbreaking, exhilarating ride. I fell in love with Fern and think she belongs to the all-time character canon, like Dodie Smith's Cassandra or Jean Rhys's Anna. There's so much truth, vulnerability and joy in Catherine Gray's prose
Daisy Buchanan, author of Insatiable and Careering
So honest. So inspiring. A true page-turner
Shahroo Izadi, psychologist and author of The Kindness Method
I really, really loved it. It touched me in so many different ways and made me cry. It was one of those books that I didn't want to finish because I knew I would miss it so desperately
Nadia Sawalha
Gorgeous. I was drawn in from the very first page. I defy you not to be deeply moved'
Jennie Godfrey, author of The List of Suspicious Things
Catherine is such an exquisite writer and what a stunning debut this is. A bold concept executed brilliantly
Poorna Bell, author of This is Fine
Versions of a Girl transfixed me from the first brilliant sentence and held me in its grip until its poignant, perfect end. I loved this novel more than I've loved any novel in ages
Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year
A raw and relatable page-turner
A clever, compulsive read that asks big questions about the nature/nurture debate
Good Housekeeping