*We received a free autographed copy of this book from the author for an honest review.
SPOILER WARNING: Parts of the plot are discussed in the following review. Direct quotations from the book are used.
This book follows Andrea’s journey through an abusive relationship with her boyfriend Josh. This book grabs the reader right away as the author describes feelings so real.
Readers get sucked into the internal turmoil of someone in an abusive relationship; the confusion, self-blame and fear. It helps readers understand why someone would stay; “…The wreckage I’d caused….walk back into the havoc and face what I had done.” “It was over for now, that latest incident, and there was no way to tell when there would be another one… but there would definitely be another one, I was too broken for it to be any other way.” “How could he still love me after this? He deserved better. Everyone did.”
Readers can also gain insight into how all abusive relationships start- just like any other: the attraction, attention, and affection from the partner. “It was exhilarating to be around Josh.” “No one had ever called me pretty before.” “I wanted to remember the way I felt right then…I felt insatiable, invincible…even Ethan said he’d never seen me so happy. I was different.”
Readers can spot the red flags before Andrea knows what is happening. “Even though I was enjoying myself, I couldn’t shake those odd intricacies that would pop up every once in a while…I felt a little uncomfortable, but mostly confused. I shrugged I off, reminding myself that everyone had their own idiosyncrasies, and this was just one of Josh’s.”
“I wanted to be a good girlfriend and it wasn’t worth arguing…I thought about the playlists, the cute text messages, and his affectionate behavior. And I reminded myself how lucky I was to be with such a sweet, vivacious guy. I could overlook something like this for the good of our relationship. So I told myself it would be all right, that everything would be okay. But it was never okay again.”
Readers cringe at the escalation of verbal, physical and sexual abuse and want to save her as she is focused on saving the relationship. “My relationship had to be my first priority if I didn’t want to lose the only guy who might ever care about me.”
Andrea’s parents started noticing, her good friend Ethan and others started noticing. They try talking to her about him, but she was not ready to see the truth yet. When something went wrong, Andrea could not talk to anyone about it. “They’d just tell me to break up with him without understanding what the consequences would be if I made him really angry. Plus, I didn’t want them to look at Josh in only a bad light. I knew they weren’t’ crazy about him, and this would be the final straw. Josh wasn’t a bad guy. He just went through these angry episodes, and I knew that nobody else could understand him as I did. I would just have to fix this myself.”
Incidents began happening at school and just as in real life, the culture is to ignore the problems. Most people, even a teacher, did just ignore it. One friend, Stephanie confronts Andrea with her worries. Stephanie explains what she saw and how it made her feel and said she was worried. Andrea denies, Stephanie says she is here whenever. This is exactly the right way to handle it, you can’t force someone to listen or tell them they are stupid if they stay. Just be honest about what you saw and that it is not the victims fault and that there is help.
Our only complaint is that we wish Andrea wasn’t focused on another guy and that she could to learn to love herself through her own eyes.
We won’t give out any spoilers about how this ends. We will only say that this book was well written and accurately portrays teen dating abuse.
BRAVE Ambassadors run this Blog