“I’m talking about the kind of indignity that changes you as a person, makes you withdraw, hide from the world because suddenly it’s turned into something frightening—full of dark corners and monsters.”
So...I have been sitting on this book for a few days. Totally not at all sure how to review/rate it. I have a hard time knowing how I feel about books like this one. Ones that are raw and gritty...and not all sunshine and rainbows.
Warning from the author: This is a New Adult fiction book with mature themes. It contains graphic sex and language and a description of sexual violence. The scene she is alluding to is very raw, but it is not over done, nor is it sensationalized. You kind of know it is coming, but you hope...you so hope...that maybe you're wrong. Maybe there is something redeeming about the "bad guys". Sometimes people are just bad though. Afterwards you totally do feel edgy and shaken. If you have been a victim of sexual violence I don't think this book is for you and I urge you to talk to someone if you haven't.
I didn’t want my own fucking forgiveness anyway. I wanted Beth’s, and she was no longer here to give it to me.
“It’s always described as melting, and I finally understood why. I thought my body was turning to liquid. I could feel my bones giving way, threatening to dissolve and leave me one big puddle of goo.”
Along the way, Brooke meets Ryan. She cannot avoid him. She knows she should. That she is on a mission and she can't falter. She has to keep going...for Beth. For the other girls. The chemistry they have was awesome to "see". They really are two dysfunctional people who find each other...and they totally work together. I do so wish we had more moments between them, but the mysteriousness of Ryan, and the secrets they are keeping from each other, really get you hooked and keep you guessing.
However, it's not their relationship that is the center of the story. For me it was Brooke and her revenge and her healing...or lack of healing at times. She is so not a perfect heroine. She's not one that you automatically root for and want to see succeed. She's done terrible things...and to her own best friend. Who does that?! Lots of people do and I think that's why she is so easy to relate to at times. We have all done things to our "friends" in high school or junior high. Maybe not to the extreme Brooke has...but we all have so I think we can look at Brooke and all her flaws and understand her pain and motives.
“You think you know what to expect. You think you have it all planned out. But something in you always surprises you, and it’s a buzzing undercurrent that keeps you silently guessing until your picture is complete.”
Although this book deals with such strong and awful subject matter, it's not a super dark book. At least it didn't feel like it to me. There are light moments and happy moments. Moments that make you hope...because there is always hope. Always.
I definitely recommend this one, but please go in prepared so you aren't caught off guard. I think if you were it would be really hard to digest.
There are a couple additional scenes over on S. Walden's blog: Ryan Meets Gretchen and Ryan's Reaction. Do not read these if you haven't read the book!