6th January 2011, Quercus Books
374 pages, Paperback
Some moderate to strong adult situations, innuendo, friendships made & broken & confused, broken family, tragedy, self-harming, alcohol, many tissues, mystery, confusion, depression (implicit),
Summary from Quercus Books
The same questions whirl round and round in my head: What does he want from me? How could I have let this happen? AM I GOING TO DIE? 17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got there. As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There’s falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there’s something missing. As hard as she’s trying to remember, is there something she just can’t see? Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here? A story of dangerous secrets, intense friendships and electrifying attraction.
I have no idea what Cat will be thinking as she reads this review (Hi Cat!). I've met Cat and chatted to her a lot on line - she's an amazing person. You may think I'm biased in this review. I possibly am a little. But I'm approaching it as I would any other book. I was intrigued because Cat wasn't sure how much I'd like it. Which is why I had to email her 30 odd pages in to say I adored it! I love stories where the protagonist gets kidnapped, and she doesn't know why she has been captured or what's going to happen next. Poor Grace lives in a world of white. The only colour really is her skin, her hair, the clothes her captor Ethan wears, and the food she eats. Even the pens are white (but not white ink - that would be daft!). What is the big deal with the white them? A lot, but all I will say is that Grace wants colour in current life.
Her past life - the one before she was kidnapped - was extremely colour. Not a pretty, rainbow coloured life, but a muddied paint palette attacked by a child kind of coloured. Every single person (apart from someone new that she meets - well, re-meets) Grace knows brings a lot of problems to her life. She brings problems to their lives too. She isn't without fault, and often says the wrong thing. I empathised because I knew when she'd said to much. Some of the things Grace says and does I'm not keen on (which makes me understand why Cat was unsure about me enjoying the book), but other things might as well be my story lifting off the page. I was so shocked to find her thoughts and action exactly the same as mine. There was no difference for those parts of her life. That shows the skill that Cat has. She has great taste, for she gives Grace a love of all things eeyore (who is NOT a depressed donkey. He is misunderstood by everyone. He's just having a rainy day). I equally love lumpy, but he doesn't feature in the book.
There's so much mystery and drama that I was almost jumping up and down with joy. Even when I figured out what was going on (before I'd got 1/4 of the way through the book), Grace's messy life drew me in. One minute I wanted to laugh, the next I wanted to find a cuddly toy and have a good cry. I recommend reading this book when you feel relatively calm - I know if I'd been in a different mood I would have had little wet spots on the pages. Ok, a lot of wet spots. As it is I need a nice fluffy, warm read next (Kay Woodward - you're up!) Anything else constructive to say? Yes. Write faster. And in some places I may have preferred a door closed policy, but those bits got wiped out by all the rest of the awesomeness.
Grace goes through all the emotions that everyone gets in their life (some in their teens, others later), she goes through a lot of unpleasant events, but in the end she never gives up. I think everyone can learn a lot from her.
I will be reviewing more books by Cat as and when she writes them (I'll be cheering her along). Keep up to date with Cat on her blog.
Suggested reads - Scarred by Julie Hogan