I’ve been stuck in a reading slump over the last week and have been picking up books, reading a chapter and getting fed up and putting them down. I decided that I needed to find something fairly short but gripping, with a storyline that would pack a real punch. I spent a while browsing ‘goodreads’ when I spotted this book, and I thought i sounded like just the thing I needed. Ten minutes later, I had purchased the kindle version and started to read it.
This story follows fifteen year old Kendra, who was sexually abused for most of her childhood. Kendra cannot remember the identity of her abuser, but now someone is following her, someone who is worried that she may start to remember too much. Kendra cuts herself to cope with the pain, its the only she can do – other than her expressive artwork and talking to her therapist. This is a devastating journey to the truth.
I found this book to be a really gripping read, I got straight into the story and was hooked the whole way through. Although this is written for YA readers, I would reccommend it to older teens, due to descriptive scenes of abuse and self-harm. This book was written wonderfully, I almost felt the anxiety and pain of Kendra whilst reading it, I was scared for her, and at times hurting for her. I think that self-harm is a very important issue, and it was dealt with well through the book. I liked the acknowledgement at the end of the book that it may take Kendra a while to stop cutting – I think that it is important to recognise that it takes time to stop this behaviour. There are a number of quotes about cutting that really stuck with me when I finished the book. I had a feeling that the author was writing from her heart during these passages, what she was saying felt very true.
“My scars show pain and suffering, but they also show my will to survive. They’re part of my history that’ll always be there.”
“Cutting stops the memories when I need them to stop. It bleeds the pain away when I can’t take it anymore. It gives me relief.”
“Self-harm is not an act of failed suicide. It is the act of trying to cope with unbearable pain”
I think the only real problem I had with this book (which is what dropped my rating down) was the ending. It felt a little rushed for my liking. I suspected who the abuser was, but it was the dramatic scene of the unveiling of him that felt a little too unrealistic for me. I also felt that there was a very “happy ending” feel once the abuser was identified, and I don’t believe that all of the collective problems surrounding Kendra could be solved that quickly. I also think there could have been more development with the characters, and perhaps a bit more history to some of them as well.
Overall, this is an intense, quick read that sucks you in and takes you along for the ride. There are some important messages about self-harm and the reasons behind it. I wish the ending had been slowed down and a little less dramatic, with a more realistic outcome – but it still kept me turning and turning the pages! It was just what I needed to get me out of my reading slump :).