Date Published: June 12, 2018
Author: Jenny Torres Sanchez
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Number of Pages: 448
Publisher: Philomel Books
Caution! Trigger for victims of PTSD, Sexual Assault and Mental Illness!!!
There are no words to express how deep this book cut down to my soul. There isn't a pretty way to put how torn up I got after the last word was read. If you're looking for a happy and simple read, this book isn't for you. There's so much texture and real life scenarios that it made it all the more real. This book really messed with me emotionally and I think those are sometimes the best kind of books....
Emilia DeJesus was a victim of sexual assault when she was a young kid. But now in her later teens things begin to change. She remembers parts of it and thought she knew for sure who the assailant was but soon that all comes to surface when new evidence is brought forward. Soon Emilia's life is turned upside down and her life becomes this big pool of water where she can hardly get her head above surface. She soon starts to find a place of her own that she can control, while her life is torn to pieces. Even her current boyfriend, brother and mother try to get her through her life but will it be in time to save Emilia before it's too late?
Emilia is the main focus of this story and her struggles to come to terms with her assault. And on top of that though it's not discussed in detail her mental illness in the form of hallucinations and depression. What I couldn't understand was why her mother couldn't get her the proper care she needed. Coming from someone whose been in a psych ward her illness should've ended with her there as well. If I was her mother I would definitely push the subject for the safety of my child! I mean that is one major plot hole. But other than that it was very realistic and devastating to read. In a way the end result was the climax and that it ended in such a way it was hard to grasp what really happened! Definitely spooky in the sense of her mind but enlightening in a sense I learned how her mind worked. I've been interested in psychology for a while now and it was fun to learn the inner-workings of Emilia's mind. Lot's of turns and pivots but enough slow moments to allow you to gather yourself and move forward.
There was romance in this story but it wasn't really the main focus. Yes Emilia's boyfriend did everything he could to help her but I think Emilia herself wasn't focused on their relationship. It was heartbreaking to read such dedication of her boyfriend and how far gone Emilia was at points. But other than that I wouldn't say this was a romance novel.
Emilia was a character I could understand but not all the way relate to. I'm not as far gone in mental illness than she was in the book. But Emilia was complex and full of texture, meaning she had so many angles and details to her that I'm still not sure I fully grasped them all. But I liked her in a way that she was trying to fight all her demons. The friend she met in the story was an interesting choice. The friend was a friend and not a friend at the same time. They were both wrapped up in themselves to understand each other. I'm still trying to determine whether the friend added to the story or just was there. Emilia's support system like her brother, mother, and boyfriend were very nice to meet and read alongside them. They definitely made the story the way it was meant to be. They made the reader to understand that Emilia had people that cared about her and wanted to see her pull through and create a better life for herself!
Transformation of Character:
This is a tricky part of this book. In a way I think I saw some transformation in Emilia and downfalls in other parts. So yes and no she transformed. As for other characters? I think in a way the mother and boyfriend transformed. They learned a lot from Emilia and therefore, became someone new.
This was the best part of the book! The eerie way the author described each scene was remarkable. The description was like poetry, so poetic and beautiful. And the foreshadowing was well placed and executed! The crows were a huge symbol in this book and it lead to eventually the climax. It was remarkable to see such vivid and realistic detail that it seemed like I was there. The description of Emilia's mind, like I mentioned earlier was really interesting and well described. The psychology alone in this book was well executed. Also, the triggers in this book were well placed but hard to read. The author had to have had either done a lot of research or experienced it herself for her to get it the way she did. It seemed so real.
This was written in third person and multiple point of views (POV's). I liked we were really able to experience everything alongside Emilia herself; to experience each and every critical moment. And to also be in the major characters point of views to see how they responded in critical moments too. As for the the third person, it really gave the reader a way to relate or understand Emilia and the other character but also take a step back at the same time.The author's writing was captivating and enjoyable to read. Though the reading was difficult at times to read, it really was hard to put down!
Quote of the Book:
"She looked at herself in the mirror again, at the judgmental image staring back at her."
Though this book isn't for everyone, I very much enjoyed it. It has been one of my favorite psychological reads of the year. I can't wait to experience what other books Ms. Sanchez has in store for us! So, if you think you're strong enough to read this book, I would totally recommend you go download or pick up a copy today!