Thank you to Hot Key Books for sending me and my wonderful bookclub girls a copy.
Please note this review carries a trigger warning for rape, sexual abuse etc. If this upsets you, please take care!
Anne Cassidy tackles one of the most challenging and also one of the most important issues into today’s society.
“My name is Stacey Woods and I was raped.” Is a pretty momentous opening for any book. It sets the reader straight in terms of what they’ve got themselves in for and what kind of reading journey they’re gonna have. The book is quite short so you know instantly you’re in for a quick, snappy, intense emotional rollercoaster.
Stacey doesn’t have a great relationship with her family. Her parents have split and her sister had a baby quite young. As a reader it’s clear to see her resentment ad disdain for her situation, she never asked for it and just got stuck in the middle of it all.
At the height of her unhappiness, her and her sister and mum have an argument and she finds herself in a cafe where she meets Harry. He’s charming, he’s cute, he’s handsome, he’s smart…he actually pays attention to Stacey, the only person (despite her friends who she pretty much shuns throughout the book) who has done so in quite some time. She is completely taken in by him and gets completely swept up in the idea of him. So her downward spiral begins.
The plot twists and turns in ways you wouldn’t think possible in such a short book. It speeds forward. Until the rape. It hits you in the stomach as you experience it with her. You feel how suffocated and scared she feels. How violated and degraded she feels. This rings very true as rape seems to hit the headlines a lot with cases like Brock Turner. It seems so real and it’s not for the faint hearted. Easily the best written scene of rape I’ve read. Intense but sensitive.
Without spoiling what happens, the rest of the book revolves around Stacey deciding whether to report the rape or not. It makes you think what you’d do and my initial feeling was “Well. I’d tell my family. My mum.” But would I? Would I be brave enough? Would I got to the Police. Stacey didn’t believe she had any to turn to. It’s a truly touching read.
The only real problem I had with the book was the ending. It was very sudden and seemed to be gearing up for the sequel rather than actually wrapping up the story. I believe it would have had more impact if it had been wrapped up there and then. Then again, this is without reading the sequel.
Overall, this is such an important read. I would definitely recommend picking it up for how realistic it is. A triumph, just a little let down by that ending.
A 4/5. Read it.
Thank you lovelies and happy reading! xo