Stephanie fights reality every day. The voices inside, the ones declaring her worth, deem her broken, used and dirty. She is an object. A toy. Something to be tossed aside when bored. Who will believe her if she whispers the truth about her wrecking ball of a family? Eventually, her secret explodes and the person who means the most to her knows just how shattered she is and why she's so afraid. But rescue is closer than she realizes. Hidden in plain sight, her horror hasn’t been ignored by everyone. Racing against the truth of what she faces, forces are joining together and developing a plan to free her from the hell in her own backyard. And while she’s at her lowest point, she’s hit with the beauty of love at any cost - redemption in the face of ruin. Will it be enough?
*Warning: Contains mature content that may not be suitable for younger audiences*
I didn't know what to expect. As I began to read and read and read I was so sucked in I couldn't stop. Then I had to. I needed to walk away. I need love and reassurance from my kids and hubby. I needed to feel alive. I cried. I cried because this story moved me. I know there is evil in this world. I know that this story could be told by countless girls. I thought about how in the little town I live in, how this could happen, and for that I wept.
Sadness enveloped my soul, I wanted to shield my children from all evil. I just could not fathom how parents could be this heartless and wretched.
Stephanie the main character is easy to love. She is living in hell and everyday it gets worse and worse. Trapped in a house where her parents do not love or respect her, she fights daily to see the good in humanity. She uses her writing as an escape and does her best to shield her baby brother from all the rage and hate in the house. The only people that she can turn to are Emma, Jude and her boyfriend Kevin.
I loved Emma and Jude. They are truly heroes for loving and giving Stephanie the hope she needed to survive. They showered her with love even though at times she felt useless and dirty.
Kevin, ah Kevin what can I say. This guy stole my breath away. He saw the beauty in Stephanie that most people over looked or did not care to see. He also gave her hope and was there for her even in her roughest and worst times in her life. His love for her was unconditional and beyond measure. I cheered for them and loved that he gave her something to look forward too.
Stephanie's parents are disgusting, vile, evil, nasty people who should have been shot. I was sick, so sick at the things I read that were done to this child and other children. Like I said I know there is evil in this world and I have read many books about abuse, drugs, human trafficking, prostitution etc...But the pictures of this girl were so strong in my head I cried. How parents could do this is beyond my scope of understanding, I know it happens, I have seen tv shows about it, even watched a few specials. My daughter is 13, Stephanie's abuse began when she was 12, so it hit me. I don't really know what else I can say, because I feel the author did her duty. She wrote a spectacular book. One that is eye opening. I am a bit sad with the ending only because it was not a HEA. I don't know if there will be a book two but (and I know I have bitched about series books) I need a book two. I need to know that Stephanie overcomes her past. That Kevin is able to repair the damage done. That Jude and Emma are still there giving her hope and love.
I gave this book
5/5 heart wrenching hearts.
**Also I know I usually use gifs, but I honestly think all of them would have been crying ones, sad ones, and I think you all need to read this book because it gives you hope. Lets you see the beauty beneath the ugly!**
Elora Ramirez lives in Austin, Texas with her chef-husband. At the age of four, she taught herself how to read and write, cutting her teeth on books like Dr. Suess and writing anywhere she could find the space—including her Fisher Price kitchen set, the pages of picture books and Highlights Magazine. Since then, she's grown to love the way words feel as they swell within her bones. Writing holy and broken is her calling, and pushing back the darkness and pursuing beauty through story is her purpose. She loves hip-hop, wishes she lived by the beach and cannot write without copious amounts of coffee, chocolate, and her husband's lavender liqueur.