This book is not a thriller. It is a dark family drama. Meredith is 13 and one of the uncool girls at school. Lisa is the most popular one, even she is a bitch and a bully. One day they both are at the wrong place at the wrong time. They are together in a sandwich shop by accident when a robbery is happening. But the thief not only takes the money he also takes Lisa. And Meredith stays behind unharmed. But instead of being happy about that she feels guilty about the fact she did nothing to help. And she keeps asking herself why Lisa was taken instead of her.
Meredith is one of the narratives. The other one is her mother Clare. Clare is also torn between feeling relieved that her daughter was spared and feeling guilty for feeling so. After all there is still a girl missing and a mother fearing for the worst.
For most of the time I was not sure what this book is telling me. The characters are very realistic. Meredith is a grumpy teenager who was secretly a little bit obsessed by Lisa bevor the incident. Clare loves her children but she has problems to see them growing up. The family had to deal with another accident before when Meredith’s Brother Evan lost an eye due to an accident. Clare naturally wants her children to be safe and she does not come to terms with the fact that you actually just can’t.
I had some problems with the story. I just don’t get the point. The traumatic events are well displayed but I hated Clare whining all the time. I did not like her. Maybe it’s because this book is very American. Some things about education and parenthood are a bit different here in Germany. Meredith is a very close-lipped teenager. In her imagination she sees were Lisa was taken and what happened to her or rather imagines who things would be if she was taken together with Lisa. Somehow she felt left behind although she should be happy that she was. This did not work for me. I feel that I just missed the point of this all. Yes it may traumatic to come unharmed out of a robbery/kidnapping and yes it may be traumatic to be a mother to two teenagers who had to suffer. But somehow this as a story did not work for me. And then the end. I don’t need an ending in which is everything explained. But I feel that all this about Meredith and her imagination would have worked better if there would have been a conclusion.
At last I want so say something about the writing style. Although it is an easy read it is also very unique. Here an example:
„You’ve been protecting her your whole life. You’ll know“.
But he was wrong. Protecting her? Psychiatrists are stupid. Psychiatrist, in fact, we’re complete morons. She could not protect her daughter. She could not protect her from the stomach flu. She could not protect her from cancer or AIDS or the common cold. She could not protect her from mean girls. She could not protect her from her friends. She could not protect her from her own thoughts. She could not protect her from men who took girls from the line at the Deli Barn and killed them“.
„She could not protect her son. She could not protect him from bullies. She could not protect him from pill bottles. She could not protect him from girls who would break his heart. She could not protect him from drunk drivers. She could not protect him from crazy people with guns. She could not protect him from baseballs“.
I got her point at least after the second or third point. No need for going on and on with examples. Unfortunately the author does this every time the opportunity arises. So I started skipping those passages.
Maybe I just missed the point of this book or it was too American for me or I am just a heartless bitch or all together. This book was not for me and I was neither touched nor thrilled.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review