Published by St. Martin's Griffin (3.26.2013)
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
Source: I own it
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There are some things you can’t leave behind…
A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.
Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.
I’d heard very good things about this book, but didn’t really look twice at it until C.J. Redwine recommended it at her book signing. I thought for sure it was going to be a tear-jerker, and something I could find that could compare to Before I Fall, but for some reason it just didn’t work for me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fabulous story. But I couldn’t connect like I’d hoped.
I think my main issue was that the writing style didn’t get to me. I found it a bit dry and clinical. This story had the potential to be very moving and emotional, but I just didn’t feel it. There was a disconnect there for me that kept me from truly feeling the story to the core.
It was terrible to think of what Carey went through, and that was really the driving point of this book. There was one scene in particular that had some very vivid imagery that had me cringing. I can’t even imagine how awful it would be to grow up like she did, with no electricity and nothing frivolous! Carey and Janessa barely had the things they actually needed.
Something I feel the need to point out – for me, personally – is Carey’s language. She was perfectly capable of speaking correctly, she proved that when she went to her new home. The don’ts and ain’ts didn’t bother me all that much, because I can understand that she was brought up on that language and it’s comfortable for her, but what bothered me was that she said Injun. Injun? Really? She could spell certain ‘big’ words correctly, like impenetrable and hyperventilating, and Jehovah for crying out loud, but not Indian?! Are you serious? I don’t know why that irked me so much…
There were a few times that I felt a twinge of something at least, but only in the scenes that involved Carey’s parents. I really liked how gentle and understanding they were with her, despite her somewhat uncouth temperament. As someone who is very close to her parents, that got to me slightly. But the very tender scenes should have been packed with emotion! I really think the issue here was me. Perhaps it was a mood thing, who knows.
“We make attachments to what’s familiar. We find the beauty, even in the lack. That’s human. We make the best of what we’re given.”
Writing style: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5