Neal Marchal has led a troubled existence ever since her dad died. She's begun to rebuild her life and escape her crazy life with her stepmother and stepfamily. She has done her best to be invisible but it did not stop her from being a witness. To what? She'll never tell. Or will she?
What struck me first about this book is the main character Neal. Neal drew me in right away, though I didn't care for her name. A common piece of writing advice says writers should write in at least one flaw for their characters, to make them seem more believable, more real. The author did a superb job in this. Neal's limp made her weak and strong. Her fears were real and at times she was afraid and untrusting to a fault. I was captivated by her immediately. I am not sure how that happened because character-building usually takes time. Not in this book, though. I read and kept reading because I cared about what happened to her from the very first page. Well done!
Curiously, I found myself breaking away from reading this book to look up songs on YouTube. (That was a first for me.) I really wanted to hear the music in this book. (I am disappointed I do not have a playlist from the author, but hope to remedy that soon. If I do, I will post it.) I imagined scenes unfolding at times as in Walk the Line, not that I was picturing Joaquin Phoenix or Reese Witherspoon. I guess I got caught up in it all. Looking back though, I could definitely see this being made into a movie.
The ending was quite curt. The book is the first in a trilogy. However, if the first chapter of the second book had not been included, the end of this book would have indeed been too abrupt.
This book is for young adult readers. It does not contain any sex and is not gory or violent. Any violence is recounted as a second-hand story. There are no mythical creatures, but there is a monster. Abuse exists within Neal's stepfamily. It leaves a bad taste, as it should. This is the teenaged version of Sleeping With The Enemy. The author conveyed the paralyzing fear that comes from emotional, psychological, and physical abuse very well. I mention this as a warning to readers. If this hits close to home or you simply cannot handle someone else's story of abuse, maybe skip this book. If you are unaware of what living in an abusive situation may be like, maybe you should pick this one up. Stories like this one need to be told and they need to be read. As a mother myself, I am reminded what a large part of someone else's life I am and what an awesome, fragile responsibility that is.
No bad apples here. This book was an easy, fast read. I don't say that often about books. I started this book and before I realized it, I was halfway done. Seriously. I am a slow reader but I read this in no time at all - one day. That really says something about the way it was written. I am not talking about grammar or word usage. I mean the method the author used to weave the story worked extremely well. This is my first read by this author but without hesitation I would read another book written by her.
Indeed, I am looking forward to burning the midnight oil with the second book in this series, Burning Daylight.
Disclaimer: All books reviewed by me have been received via purchase, lending, or given to me by an author or publisher for the purposes of an honest review. No reviews are purchased. They are my own opinion.