Reviewed by Shannon, Windsor Library
I expected this book to remind me of Speak, but I was surprised that it also reminded me a lot of The Girl on the Train. This book is told through the eyes of Romy, a teenage girl who is hated and tormented by her classmates and the rest of her small town for accusing the sheriff’s son of raping her a year before the book begins. Romy’s story is heartbreaking. She is bullied relentlessly in absolutely horrible ways by everyone at school, and has lost even her best friend. To make matters worse, she hates herself and closes herself off from everyone around her. She refers to herself as a “dead girl” and often thinks things like “I wish I didn’t have a body.” Tough stuff.
It’s not until she meets Leon, a boy who works with her at the diner a town over that she starts to feel like she could be someone different than who she has been since that night a year ago. However, their relationship struggles as Romy lies to him over and over again so that he doesn’t find out about what happened to her. Things also get complicated when Romy’s ex-best friend goes missing after a party she was at and the town manages to blame her for that too. The missing girl bit almost seemed like too much, and I think I would have liked the book better if the story had focused more on Romy and Leon because I so desperately wanted Romy to feel better about life rather than have more reasons to hate it.
Despite the depressing story, I did like this book a lot, and I find myself still thinking about it and Romy and hoping she is doing okay. Romy’s voice is strong and the story hooked me pretty quickly. It’s well written and has some really devastatingly beautiful lines. It’s definitely very relevant for our society and worth reading, but I’m honestly torn about whether or not it will receive any Printz attention. I think it could end up with an honor, but I’m not sure if it will be able to stand out enough for the win.