by Hollie Overton
I wanted to read this book because it popped up on Netgalley after I'd just finished watching the BBC miniseries Thirteen which had really similar subject matter and I thought I'd love it as much as I loved the show. And, well... It's a difficult one to review because my thoughts on in are so conflicted. On one hand, there was so much about the book I didn't like but on the other, I read it in two sittings and was kind of hooked.Summary: You've been held captive in one room, mentally and physically abused every day, since you were sixteen years old.
Then, one night, you realize your captor has left the door to your cell unlocked.
For the first time in eight years, you're free.
This is about what happens next ...
Lily knows that she must bring the man who nearly ruined her life - her good-looking high-school teacher - to justice. But she never imagined that reconnecting with her family would be just as difficult. Reclaiming her relationship with her twin sister, her mother, and her high school sweetheart who is in love with her sister may be Lily's greatest challenge. After all they've been through, can Lily and her family find their way back after this life-altering trauma?
I'm going to be talking a lot about the negative stuff, so I want to preface that by saying this: in spite of all the bad points, I liked it in the end and would rate it 2.5 stars out of 5. And most of what I didn't like really was just down to personal preference.
In the beginning, what I didn't like about the book was the writing -- the style just wasn't my cup of tea. It was quite bland/dry in the beginning and very tell instead of show. It would skim over scenes that would've been interesting to see more in depth while giving more time to stuff that was annoying or was less interesting. A lot of scenes were very contrived and unconvincing, particularly the dialogue which, in the beginning, was very clumsy and unrealistic (sort of like the dialogue in dramatic scenes of daytime soap operas).
I noticed that stuff less as the story progressed, but by then I was really annoyed by the plot.
I took a long time to warm up to Abby's character. It was just really difficult to understand why someone would love her enough (romantically) to put up with all her bad behaviour (again: so much of it was very tell instead of show) and that made it so frustrating to read, especially when she had done something that was hurting Lily and it was hard to figure out why and sympathise with her when the Wes stuff didn't make sense for the majority of the book beyond having two shared experiences (the loss of Lily, and the baby).
It did improve a bit later in the book, but it was still one of my least favourite things (which is one of the main reasons why my feelings are so mixed because it was a big part of the story).
With the subject matter, I should've been a wreck -- it should've been one of those gritty novels that makes you feel emotionally raw from reading it...but it never quite managed to get under my skin that much.
Basically, I don't think it portrayed the aftermath of that sort of trauma as well as it could have and I'd have probably liked the book a lot more if that aspect of it was given more attention instead of the more soap opera elements of the plot (particularly if the POV chapters were just Lily and Abby's -- Eve's POV felt kind of redundant half the time and Rick's just added to the kind of soap opera feel the book had at times and it could've worked without it).
Onto the positive stuff: like I said in the beginning, the book had me hooked. There may be a lot I didn't like but the fact that I couldn't put it down, couldn't quit it, it must've done something right.
My favourite part of the book was the relationship between Lily and Abby... I mean, Abby frustrated the hell out of me and a lot of what I didn't like plot-wise was relating to her, but I did still really love that the sisterly relationship got so much focus. The very best part of the book was the last quarter (loved the last few chapters) and that was when the things that annoyed me were put on the back burner and it was just about the sisters and their healing and how they were moving forward.
Anyway, like I said, I would say I liked the book in the end and would rate it 2.5 stars out of 5. It's worth checking out if it sounds like your kind of book.