I find myself quite conflicted in giving this book four out of five stars as a book such as this can’t really be considered enjoyable. It is dark, disturbing and truly heartbreaking. It is not a light, easy read, but it is an exceptional novel about strength, love and having the courage to break away from abuse and live your life. This is one of those books that I truly believe everyone should read. Child abuse is far too prevalent in the world and any book, fact or fiction, that raises awareness is a good thing. The most shocking thing about this story is that it really does happen, children really are abused, mentally, physically and sexually, by people they should be able to trust.
I had a lump in my throat the whole time I was reading this and at times I didn’t want to carry on, Rebecca and Hepzibah’s life was just too painful, too tragic and unfair, but I was glad I persevered. It felt to me that if Rebecca could live through this then I could certainly read it, as there will definitely be real life Rebecca’s and Hepzibah’s out in the world trying to find the courage to break free from an abusive, and maybe even murderous, home.
Louisa Reid’s writing is beautiful and she truly captured the voices of sixteen year old girls trying to figure out who they are in the midst of all they were going through; it was as fascinating to read as it was painful. I absolutely fell in love with Rebecca’s character as the novel progressed, she’s a wonderfully unlikely heroine and a real inspiration; I felt like my heart would burst when she escaped and realised that having Treacher Collins syndrome didn’t make her an unlovable freak.
This is a very impressive novel, but definitely not for the faint of heart. I think it will stay with me for a very long time.
Read: January 1st-2nd 2013