Years ago, while working online in curriculum development, I was set the task of helping high school students understand Hamlet. Many approaches exist—too many to enumerate here—but the one that changed my experience of “the Bard” and the English language itself was turning to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) whenever I had a question about a word. My favorite part of this process was learning about the history of the word: the obsolete definitions, the slang it once formed, the phrases in which it first appeared. When I started writing the “A Girl” series, I looked up “girl” in the OED and was delighted to find the phrase “origin unknown” listed under etymology. No one knows for sure where we came from; no one can say where we’re going. We are, in the linguistic sense, mysteries. Secrets. In some ways, threats. This story was born of that discovery.