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By: Cheryl Rainfield
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
Format of Review Copy: Hardback
Recommendable for people who enjoy: Psychological Suspense, Thrillers
Synopsis (from goodreads):
An intensely powerful account of a teen, bullied for her port-wine stain, who must summon her personal strength to survive abduction and horrific abuse at the hands of a deranged killer.
Sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs for “normal.” Born with a port wine stain covering half her face, all her life she’s been plagued by stares, giggles, bullying, and disgust. But when she’s abducted on the way home from school, Sarah is forced to uncover the courage she never knew she had, become a hero rather than a victim, and learn to look beyond her face to find the beauty and strength she has inside. It’s that-or succumb to a killer
I’ve been putting this review off for a few days now, trying to digest my feelings about this book. I guess the best thing for me to do is just say it, so ….
I did like the book. But…
Always a “but”, right? I felt the writing style was aimed at a younger YA crowd, however, the content is NOT. This book contains an abduction and multiple/repeated rape. Its not graphic or anything, but it is what it is. I am in no way trying to say such things should not be in books, I’m just saying I am uncomfortable reading it. (Probably due to family history) I really am uncomfortable with the thought of kids reading it. I mean, my own kids are 13 & 17. I would not recommend this book to them, even though it is clearly written to that age range “style” wise. Call me a fuddy duddy, or over protective, or whatever if you want. That is just the way it is.
Ive seen several interviews with this author where she states she wrote this book because she wished there’d been something like it available when she was a teen. I get that, I do, and I find it very admirable. Feelings for the author and the author’s cause should have no baring on my review of the book though. So, what did I think about the actual book?
Character wise: I never connected to the main character, Sarah. Even though there was plenty of back story about her and how she was constantly bullied over her “stain”, I just didn’t care. I kept thinking about my own childhood and how mean the kids were to me about my name & my weight, and shrugging. Kids are bullied all the time. For being heavy, for being poor, for being smart. Truth is, kids are assholes. And I really just didn’t care about her. She felt flat to me.
The secondary characters, were just that. Secondary (in other words, ordinary). I repeatedly rolled my eyes at the parents, especially in the second half of the book. And Sarah’s friends, *sigh*.
Story wise: I thought the story was well thought out. I did like the idea of it. I enjoyed the whole “who is the bad guy” thing and waiting for everyone else to figure it out. I didn’t care for how it was delivered. The tone or style of the book feels like its aimed at younger teens, and having repeated rape in a book for that age range…just makes me cringe.
And then there is the romance part. The romance aspect of the book, was meh. The “ugly” duckling finds true love in the end. Really? I probably would have enjoyed this book SO MUCH more had there not been a secondary ‘love story’ plot going on.
So, where does that leave me?
I read the book, I did not DNF it. I finished it because I wanted to see how it would end. So, something must have been drawing me into the story. Right?
I don’t know that I would recommend it to adults because the writing style, just felt “dumbed down” for me. If that makes sense at all. And I would never recommend it to kids because of the content matter. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable telling a kid to pick it up. Well, unless I thought they would benefit from it and their parents wouldn’t disapprove of the content.
This book contains: bullying, abduction, and rape.
For Students & Teachers:
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|ATOS Book Level: UG|
Interest Level: 3.7
AR Points: 7