Youngstown, Ohio, 1977. Between the closing of the city’s largest steel mill and the worst blizzard in more than 40 years, the table is set for remarkable change. Unemployed steel worker Bobby Wayland is trying hard to help his family and still pay for his wedding, but the only solution he can think of involves breaking the law. On the other side of town, a little girl named Hope is keeping a big secret, one she won’t even share with her Great Uncle Joe—she can make things move without touching them. Watching over both of them is the city herself, and she has something to say and something to do about all of this.
The Heebie-Jeebie Girl is the story of an era ending and the uncertainty that awakens. It’s the story of what happens when the unconscionable meets the improbable. It’s the story of dreams deferred, dreams devoured, and dreams dawning. It is likely to be the most distinctive novel you read this year, but it will startle you with its familiarity. Author Susan Petrone has created an unforgettable tale of family, redemption, and magic.
‘The simple, desperate act that opens The Heebie-Jeebie Girl quickly turns complicated and dangerous. Susan Petrone has penned an open-hearted love letter to a still-proud city whose mills and bars used to operate around the clock, where jobs are scarce and people dream of hitting the lottery. A novel of magic and miracles, contrition and forgiveness, it's fitting that its hero, who can pick lucky numbers out of thin air, is named Hope. As Youngstown itself says: 'Some cities will chew you up and spit you out. Not me.'"' – Stewart O'Nan, author of Snow Angels and Last Night at the Lobster
"A series of unfortunate events weave together the complex and beautifully-rendered lives of an old man, a young girl, and a reluctant villain in this heartfelt page-turner set in 1977 Ohio. Petrone deftly blends suspense, fantasy, and family turmoil to paint an unflinching portrait of America's Rust Belt at its tipping point. If a city like Youngstown could talk, this is the story it might tell. I couldn't put it down!" – D.M. Pulley, author of The Dead Key and No One's Home