Saturday, 17 November 2012

Shock Point by April Henry

Shock Point
by April Henry

Summary: Cassie discovers that her stepfather, Rick, a teen psychiatrist, has been illegally prescribing a new behavioral drug to his patients—and three teens have died. Before she can report him, Rick commits Cassie to Peaceful Cove, a boot camp for troubled teens in Mexico. Cassie knows she has to get out now, before more teens die. But no one has ever escaped from Peaceful Cove alive—and even if Cassie gets over the walls and survives the Mexican desert, will anyone believe her story?
I'm kind of torn on my opinion of this book. It wasn't a bad book, but there was something off about it and the problem is...well, I'm not sure if the problem was the book or the expectations I had for the book.

My expectations: It was the whole boot camp aspect of it that interested me and made me pick it up. I've read and seen a lot about those camps. So, I went into the book expecting it to have the same kind of impact on me as reading the true stories about them had, but it didn't and there were a few reasons for that.

The first one, the biggest one, is the almost soap opera-ish plot with her step dad. Everything about that just took away from the real, raw impact a story about one of those boot camps should have (it wasn't a bad plot line, I just didn't like it combined with the boot camp thing). Also, the fact that the book was so short, it seemed to gloss over important things about how the long lasting effects the camps can have.

I'm not sure if there are any of the really bad camps still open (I'll add some links at the bottom for you to read more about them), but I do know that the ones that were open and got shut down were awful. The teenagers sent to them were abused (definitely mentally, usually physically, sometimes even sexually). And it would go on for months, if not years (they were allowed to keep them there until they were 18 if their parents didn't come for them, some went in as young as 12).

What they go through, it's not just a case of everything being all rainbows and butterflies as soon as they're released - abuse like that, it leaves them emotionally scarred after it. Scarring that can take years to get over, if they ever get fully over it.

That's one area I think the book really failed. It didn't really seem like Cassie had any trauma caused by the camp at all, it was like she just went back to pretty much how she was, and it didn't show anything negative really happening to the relationship between Cassie and her mum (having the person you should be able to trust the most choosing to believe someone elses word over yours without even hearing your side of things, and sending you away someplace awful where you are abused for months...that should have some sort of impact on their relationship).

I don't know if the shortness of the book is to blame for that or if maybe the author just wanted to end on a happy note instead of a sad/bittersweet one.

Most of the issues I had with the book really are down to the fact that I expected more from it considering the subject matter and I think it could've been handled better. Beyond that, the only actual issue with the book itself--beyond my expectations for it--was the thing with Cassie and her mum and how it skipped over the part where her mother apologizes for being an epic fail of a mother (but I'm not sure if the reader is supposed to think of her that way, Cassie doesn't seem to, but I did).
Positives: The kind of stuff Cassie goes through while at the camp - that part was done pretty well. And I do like Aprils writing and I liked some of the characters.

Basically, I was expecting a book that was really raw and showed how hellish those camps can be but instead it was just...a story. And I know it's fiction, but when there's reality in the horrible aspects of the plot, it can feel realistic (e.g. Between Shades of Gray or Speak) but aside from some of the camp scenes this one didn't, it was too watered down by the plot with her step dad, the ending too sugarcoated. It was a decent adventure/thriller (not sure the correct word to use for this), but my expectations ruined it for me and it just wasn't my kind of thing.

 I'd rate it 2 stars out of 5. Maybe 2.5.


p.s. Links to read more about the camps:
There's loads of stuff on the internet about these places.


  1. i thought this was a really, really, really great book.:-/

    1. Fair enough. There's people who hate my favourite books, opinions are subjective. Part of the beauty of reading is that two people can read the exact same book but take totally different things away from it. I'm glad you enjoyed this one more than I did. :)



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