4.5 This is a debut? How the hell is this a debut?!
The story is a gut wrenching one. You will have heard this many times before but it is particularly true with this. Your stomach clenches as each event unfolds and just when you think the knots in your stomach are ready to get a little looser it gets worse for Turtle and you start fretting all over again. The book is a little long, sometimes I feel unnecessarily so especially with the last few pages but in the middle all the slow writing in places is just to lead you into a false sense of safety till all hell breaks loose.
The father, Martin, is a bloody psychopath and a paedophile, the kind who manipulates and controls people easily and that is what is most terrifying about it. She cannot get away because she doesn’t realise, won’t realise, that he is a horrible person, she keeps telling herself “my daddy loves me more than anything in the world” and lets him rape her regularly till it becomes a normal thing for her. This is marked a YA but I don’t think it is, maybe a much older YA?
WHAT I LIKED
The author has penned his characters brilliantly. I usually complain about how male authors write women but not here, he has thought out each character perfectly and has written a young defiant girl who is protecting her abusive father with all her might and stubbornness. The father too is well written, a typical sociopath who takes to controlling people with words and charm and when that doesn’t work, with terrifying violence.
He has taken her acceptance of her fate and turned it into something terrible. She has consented, thought she is not at an age where she can consent, to being treated like a trapped little animal. One that her father has made strong but just a tiny bit less strong than he is so he can still control her and manipulate her. This is how predators isolate so you have nowhere to go, no one to turn to and the author has done a brilliant job of it, leaving you feeling emotionally brutalised.
The author has taken so many metaphors and used them to showcase how dark and crazy her life is. Her living situation, her home, her location, the small town, the ray of sunshine that Jacob is, how sunshine cannot actually take away the darkness that is Martin, and Cayenne. You will know about Cayenne when the time comes and she is such a turning point. You spend most of the book either crying for Turtle or rooting for her but the second Cayenne happens you start admiring her.
WHAT I DISLIKED
I thought the ending was a little dragged out. A tiny bit. Very small bit. This book is a must read despite that but I thought if the book had ended a little more smoothly it would have left me feeling a bit more victorious. Also I wasn’t happy with how things ended with Jacob. No spoilers, but you will see.