Catrine Evans is a 13-year-old American girl. With her mother dead and her father distant, she boards at a school in England, stuck in the role of the ostracized Yank. With its tales of boys and teachers, McGowan’s debut novel has the outlines of a conventional coming-of-age novel, but her first-rate lyricism makes Schooling an unusually stirring vision of a trembling soul. This is despite the appearance that in her own education, the author has learned the correlation between good prose and bad punctuation — and so tells the story in a faux-Joycean stream-of-commalessness. Though such ostentatious nonsense mars the whole book, at least it forces the reader to give the author’s lovely language the attention it deserves.