*I was offered a copy of this book from the author or publisher for review.
Merrie grabs my attention from the first sentence and never lets it go. I loved the format that Merrie used to tell this story. We don't start at the beginning of when all started to change with Rachel. We start when things have already changed, and turned ugly. She finds herself in a ditch, beat up and bruised, with memory loss for the last year. Everyone around her knows how things are/were but are afraid to tell her or sworn to secrecy by her previously. But it all starts to surface slowly in her mind and as she learns what she does with her friends. In this fashion we learn what each of the girls faced to get to where they are. The fears they each face. There is more going on than Rachel knows, and she keeps pushing, until she remembers it all and faces the chance of losing herself again.
I found I was constantly guessing, in my mind, what had happened to Rachel and the other lost girls. And always trying to piece together what I was learning each time I came across a large piece of the puzzle. Wow. This book was so well done to keep you going, learning, and wanting more.
This is a book that can and should be read by adults and children. There are strong feels present in the story. These children have fears they fight daily. They may react differently than an adult would, but in their emotional state they find a way to deal with what they feel. And, unfortunately, it leads down a road that's hard to break from. The fears may seem simple to you, but to these kids they aren't. They will learn to stand on their own from them.
There are drugs and drinking that's present in the story. This is related to the feelings and actions of the kids though. How these kids come out in the end is amazing. Yes, this is fiction, but the feelings kids feel are true, and can lead to good paths or terrible paths.
I felt the heartache and emotions of the characters. I felt completely invested with Rachel and others. There was one person that Rachel talked to, twice actually, and each time she saw this person I started to cry. It was very emotional for Rachel and the person and the scenes touched my heart.
Rachel has a draw to the Black Swan and dance, it shows in how she sees things in her life. I loved this as it took something Rachel related to and related it to the life she was living.
This book simply wowed me.