I found this novel hard to read. First, as a 43-year-old male, I’m absolutely not the target demographic (full disclosure: the author is my niece). Second, as the father of two daughters, there are events in the story I’d clearly rather pretend don’t happen.
Some Very Bad Things happen in this book. It gets…dark. It’s the story of Molly, a high school student from rural Iowa who gets into relationships she’s not ready for, and suffers through the consequences. The story follows her for a period of several years as she makes mistakes, runs from them, makes more mistakes, runs again, and finally confronts her past and finds some redemption.
The ending is not perfect. Not everything works out. But that’s the reality of it all.
Complaints are few. In several instances, the author simply tells the reader something, when it might have been better to drop clues about it and let the reader figure it out for themselves. And some of the characters are extreme archetypes with little complexity or nuance.
As I said, it was difficult to read, and I would avoid reading it because of the subject matter. But I devoured the last 100 pages in one sitting because I genuinely got caught up in what would happened to Molly.
My daughters are a little young for it yet, but it’s a valuable book for teenage girls (perhaps later teens) on the verge of adulthood and all the complexities that come with it.