“Seventeen-year-old Melanie Easton lives in a loveless home with her negligent, self-absorbed, and potentially dangerous mother. Consequently, she knows loneliness. Unexpectedly offered a ride with a classmate, Robert Reynolds, Melanie finds there is more to people than she ever imagined. Living in self-imposed anonymity, Melanie struggles to survive without becoming bitter and hate filled.”My Thoughts
This is not the type of book I’d usually pick to read as child abuse is a major trigger of mine, but Sojourner McConnell has done a really good job at taking a topic which would usually cause major negative responses in me and turned it into a heart-warming tale of personal growth and renewal.
Melanie wins the heart of the reader over in the very first chapter as we are introduced to the world of negligence and emotional barrenness that she is brought into, it hit me like a ton of bricks and that very first impression stayed with me throughout the book, I couldn’t help but wonder how on earth anyone born to such a desperate circumstance could find anything good out of it, and it’s this interest that kept me reading.
I loved the themes that are introduced but found the execution of them to be lacking. For example, Katherine (Melanie’s mother) was a single mother with an undiagnosed mental illness – further expansion on such a dynamic could have allowed for some brilliant dramatic and emotional scenes, it seems to me Melanie had no idea there was that side to her mother, of being plagued by an illness, and while later on family all allude to a problem being present, there doesn’t seem to be sufficient information to tell me that it was a real or genuine concern for any of them. And once I reached the end of the book, there was no final closure on what it was that plagued Katherine as it did, nor much closure for other characters linked to her in the book either.
I enjoyed the fact that Melanie, when finally befriending someone, does so with a male character. While a female may have provided a more familiar structure of support for readers (I would have expected a female best friend to have come along to be honest) , by having Rob in the picture there is once again and opportunity for additional story lines to develop within the main tale. I feel a bit more could have been provided on Rob’s own background which would have better explained his generosity, sincerity and concern for Melanie.
My one criticism would be that the dialogue between characters did not feel genuine to me. What I mean to say is that it didn’t feel like the sort of conversation that one would expect to hear between people sitting in a car, it felt put on; Melanie and Rob in particular reminded me more of an older couple than of two teenagers. Perhaps however this was intended in demonstrating the indirect maturity thrust upon kids forced to grow up too soon?
There were grammatical errors and a number of areas which I felt could have benefited from a little extra attention from the editing team but to be honest, for a first time writer and a first book I think McConnell should be exceptionally proud of the outcome of her hard work.
This, as mentioned before, is not my usual preferred read, and while I enjoyed it, I found it did not engage me on the level that I would have liked, I could read it and not mind an interruption or two, I think this is far better suited to those of the YA genre fandom or individuals looking for a rose-from-the thorn type tale.
Review Rating: 3/5
Published By: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (July 21, 2012)
Published Date: 2012
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Coming of Age
Purchase and author information is available on the website.