Sam is seventeen, starving herself and longing for oblivion. Her sister, Jena, is mentally scarred and desperate to remember. Between them, they share secrets too terrible to recall.
Eighteen months earlier, Sam was still full of hope: hope that she could piece together Jena’s fragmented memory after the vicious attack that changed their family forever. But digging into the past unearthed long-hidden lies and betrayals, and left Sam feeling helpless and alone in a world designed to deceive her.
Now, in a last bid to save her from self-imposed shutdown, Sam’s therapist is helping her confront her memories. But the road to recovery is a dangerous one. Because Sam has not only been lying to her doctors: she’s been hiding dark secrets from herself.
When I first started reading this I wasn’t sure to what to make of it and it kind of rubbed me the wrong way. It opens up with a young girl who is battling anorexia and seems to have been admitted to a mental health hospital for treatment of the condition. My problem though was the author, at first, seemed to have her characters so in love with the disorder it was being described in these ‘beautiful’, ethereal phrases. I almost stopped reading because it was so difficult to read about these girls starving themselves and having it described like it was the most elegant act one can do.
Thankfully I kept with it and I was glad because I began to understand the reason Dugdall wrote the way she did regarding anorexia is because she was showing the mindset people who have this disorder actually have regarding their mental illness. The psychological aspects she brought up, the reasons the girls have for what they do, the type of treatment they undergo, all of it was described with so much accurate detail it was obvious the author spent a great deal of time trying to get this correct.
In the midst of learning about this disorder and why her main character is suffering you are also treated to a mystery of what happened to her sister and why. Eventually I was able to predict most of what was going to be the answers for the various mysteries that tie together but that didn’t take away from the overall story. The conclusion was very poignant and was the best possible way to end this story.
The only part I’m still on the fence about is because Dugdall described how people with anorexia view their disorder I’d be concerned that a teenager who may be leaning towards this idea or in the throes will find encouragement within these characters. I would hope that the disorder’s traumatizing side effects might change their mind and thankfully the author doesn’t hold back on the debilitating things that can happen to a person’s body when they choose to starve themselves.
It was definitely an eye opening experience to read this book and by the end I just wanted to hug Sam to tell her everything was going to be okay.
Thank you to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for allowing me to review this book.
Buy on Amazon: http://a.co/fjctS5m
*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com