What I Thought:
This book is predicted to be one of the highest ranking books of 2017 and probably will be. Hot on the tails of Gone Girl, Girl on the Train etc. books with bold claims of following in those footsteps – cue eye rolling.
Milly’s mother is on trial for multiple child murder. This is one of those huge shocking murder cases, that hits the headlines and stays there. Milly (previously Annie until her name change) is now in the care system, with foster parents. She has a new identity, a new school, and new life. Milly is placed with a Psychologist foster father who turns out to have a rather dysfunctional family – wife Saskia and their daughter Phoebe who takes an instant dislike to Milly. Milly tries her best to fit in but Phoebe and her mean-girl friends make school life as unpleasant for Milly as possible. But Milly has another agenda – she wants to stay with her foster family, which means keeping quiet about Phoebe’s bullying. Slowly we get a sense of the kind of depraved life Milly had, as a victim of her mother’s abuse. How much has Milly been influenced by her upbringing and can she escape the past?
Milly’s voice is distinctive and we start to wonder just how badly affected she has been by living in her childhood house of horrors. She battles with her good self and her bad self throughout the book which leaves the reader wondering how this will manifest in her new life. Does the apple really fall that far from the tree? Nature versus nurture has been a debate for eons and this story has us questioning what they think they know at regular intervals.
It’s certainly a thought-provoking topic and one that would probably go down well with book clubs. Are we a product of our environment or are we predisposed to behave in a certain way. The ending, despite being fairly shocking, wasn’t actually a massive surprise. I enjoyed this book for the fresh new angle and voice but I’m not sure I could rave about it. It felt slightly two-dimensional to me, but I suppose that could have been intentional given that it was narrated by a teenage girl who had never been loved or cared for and therefore probably didn’t know how to emote other than in a bystander kind of way.
Thanks to Michael Joseph and Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in return for an honest review.
Have you read this yet? I would love to know what you think?