Blurb from Goodreads
If there’s one thing Madison Lukas understands, it’s pain. The pain she feels when her mother ignores her completely. The pain her best friend endures as her parents starve her as punishment. The pain of a dangerous boy whose mother has to be carried away by law enforcement on a regular basis.
She gets it. She feels the pain of others as if it were her own.
But when a mysterious man claiming to be her long lost brother appears with promises of relieving her suffering, trusting him could reveal more truths than Madison is ready for. Because the truth can hurt, too.
Madison is a sixteen year old girl who is popular by association. Her best friend is one of the richest people in Pelican Bluffs. She never thought that she is beautiful hence doesn’t believe when someone say it and never realize guys like her. She is kind, nice and doesn’t like hurting people’s feelings. Sounds familiar? It’s because she is like any other teenage girl characters in YA books. But wait….she acts differently from most of them. She is abused and bullied by her mom, her best friend, her school friends and her sort of boyfriend. Yet somehow she didn’t realize it and didn’t do anything about it. From the beginning of the story I want to yell her to stay away from Kalie, her best friend and Jean-Pierre, her sort of boyfriend. And at some point I want to slap her and make her to do something.
But I do feel sorry for her. Her mom abuses her in a different way. She (rarely) didn’t hurt her physically, she also didn’t call her names. But she ignores her in a worst kind of attitude. She shut her down in the name of art, work and freedom. Kailie as her best friend kind of use her. She keeps her for her benefit. Become her designated driver, mad at her to unreasonable reason, good at mind games and she often falls for it. And Jean-Pierre never acknowledge her at their school and told her that he don’t want to have a girlfriend. But keeps come to her room to make out.
When I decided reading this book, I thought it will be like any other dysfunctional family stories I’ve read. Yet, Ms. Tippetts surprised me both in bad and good feelings. Then I realize, even with the bad feelings I feel, it’s a good thing because it means she know how to write her story well enough for me to feel it.
This story tells me that abusive and bulling can come from many types, different from I used to read. Madison annoyed me to not stand up for herself but I also pity her. I’m angry at her for allow herself to be bullied by Kalie and Jean-Pierre but I also feel sad for what happen to her. She is different and confusing me yet she is brave in her own way.
As my third book from EM Tippetts, I can tell that she has patterns telling her story but it doesn’t mean her stories are boring. It makes her books different from other authors and I can see her originality. Similar to Someone Else’s Fairytale this book is slow-paced but in a good way. She gives her characters time to know each other and me, as a reader, know them too, understand and also feel them. Therefore, there isn’t insta-love for the main characters. Her characters need time to build a relationship and falling in love slowly, just like what I love because to me it seems more realistic. Another pattern I found is in some part, I kind of hard to follow Madison’s thought sometimes. This also happens with Chloe Vanderholt from Someone Else’s Fairytale series. I need more attention to the characters because she creates her stories in many layers. This book is not only about dysfunctional family but also about abusive, bulling, friendship, trust, love and even religion.
Result: 4 out of 5 stars