Release Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 256 pages
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.
So crazy, I go from reading a book that had me laughing all through out it to a book that brought me to tears many times and really broke my heart a few times. Sometimes it was happy tears some times it was sad tears. The times it was sad tears were times when you saw Carey, our main character, struggle or admit to some thing so horrible that happened to her under her mother's 'care'.
I've never read anything quite like this; quite so tragic but yet so beautiful. Life is super hard for Carey and her six year old sister, Jenessa, who lived in a camper in the middle of the woods with her meth addicted mother who would abandon them for weeks at a time looking for money and drugs. Carey, who is only fifteen (or is she?) basically raised her little sister. Together, they've been through just about everything and I literally mean that. By the end of the book you really want to just gather them up in a nice, lovely hug.
Their life is changed when two people walk in to their home in the woods and what's worse, is Carey recognizes the guy...her father. She's only known her father as a man who beat both herself and her mom and now he's come looking for her to bring her home. She'll obey because it's the only way for her to stay with her sister and she's got to be there to protect her.
No 'fifteen' year old should ever have to be this responsible, first off. You're a child still and to be raising an even younger child? It's insane to think about. She's so grown up for her age and so uncertain of what's really expected of girls her age. This book, you see her struggle in a new environment with her father, a step mother and a step sister, who seems to hate her with all her being but seeing her younger sister so happy is heartbreaking. Melissa, their step mother is so great with Nessa and she really loves her as if she were her own. Carey, as well, really but it's so much harder with her because she's so smart and so grown up that the love is completely different than Janessa's.
She's coming to terms with the fact that her mother isn't everything she thought she was and maybe her father wasn't either. The things you find out she went through in the woods, for the age she is...really makes you want to take Carey's shotgun and go find her mother. It's a tough read, for sure and what's sad is things like this really do happen to innocent young girls. Maybe not the same circumstance of them, say, living in the woods but it happens.
I can't even begin to tell you how much I loved this story for many reasons. There were so many times I just found myself crying because I was so touched, as if I were Carey or something and seeing some of the nicest things coming out of her new family. It was extremely touching and an experience to read. To see how much Carey still grows up from the point in the beginning of the book to the end; she truly is someone much older than her age. To see a family try and come together as one unit is truly a sight to see and it was just...brilliant to read. I would highly recommend this to anyone but, as you can see from my review, it is a tough book to get through. You will probably find yourself disgusted many times, crying other times and just so relieved other times. It's definitely an emotional ride but one I recommend everyone takes.
Thank you to St. Martins Griffin and netgalley for allowing me the chance to read and review this book honestly.