Clearly from my rating (1.5 stars) I had problems with this book. I feel like I’ve read something different to everyone else based on the glowing reviews it’s received on goodreads. I just couldn’t sympathise with or relate to Emma. Don’t get me wrong, I obviously do not condone the abuse she went through over all those years, it just didn’t add up for me. It was like reading about two separate characters: one who was being emotionally and physically abused at home and who possibly had a really interesting story to tell and the other who was a popular, talented, seemingly perfect 4.0 student who, most of the time, seemed unaffected by the shit she had going on at home. I found that so hard to believe. I wanted to empathise with her, but her character was so under-developed and contradictory. I didn’t know who she was, why she made the decisions she did and why she started off as a mousy, shy girl but ended up being quite popular - invited to all the parties, hooking up with the popular boys and so quickly over her shyness in the blink of an eye. What changed? No character development or plausible explanation that satisfied me anyway.
This book was really long and nothing ever seemed to happen. This book felt like a retelling of mundane high school routine (sitting in class, walking to the next class, eating lunch, going to soccer practice, holding a boy’s hand, going to a party, going to the shops to buy a new outfight for said party and so on) because that’s all that happens for the majority of this book. The story is told in first person, but despite this, I still couldn’t relate to Emma. I’m in her head yet never felt like I really knew or understood her.
I should stop reading YA for a while (all I do is groan about it) as I seem to have a hard time feeling anything for characters who can’t make a decision and stick with it or stand up for themselves. I like my female characters to have a bit of sass and an inner strength, regardless of what shit they have gone through, to fight back smarter, tougher and harder than those who have hurt them. Perhaps this is explored in book 2, but this book was too long and drawn out with nothing happening for me to consider continuing with this series.
This story is somewhat similar to Heart on a Chain. I actually preferred that book.