by Gretchen McNeil
Not sure how long this review is going to be. The short of it is, this book wasn’t for me. There were character issues, serious pacing issues, and things that were impossible to really believe. And that last point is a pain because it’s sort of where everything starts.
Our main character is going to this camp over the summer and it’s supposed to be an empowerment camp. That lasts two weeks yet it somehow has a massive, life changing effect on our main character who has a pretty rough shell to start with.
Two weeks? That’s a seminar at best. And not enough time for her to form the kinds of bonds she was supposedly forming. What really bothered me was the pacing. It was so slow. Even when the situation was supposed to be fast paced and tense, it was just boring.
Not to mention, no trigger warning. I will never be quiet about this. This story sort of hinges on the fact that our main character makes friends with another girl at this camp over their bullying histories. The fact they were victims.
Except one girl was the victim of sexual harassment. Fun stumbling on that and having no warning. Honestly, it made me want to not finish the book. I don’t select books that deal with or have SA in them, and I like it that way.
Authors need to realize that they can do some harm to their readers if they don’t give them the ability to make an educated decision on what they choose to read.
Now, after that, the story really does just stretch belief because of the time and how these bonds supposedly were so strong.
I will say that there’s one thing I liked about the main character that everyone else who’s reviewed this book seems to hate about her. Her father has had a mental breakdown. And she’s annoyed by it, frustrated by the fact she has to manage his emotional responses to things. That she can’t get a break from it because her mom won’t actually address the fact her father has this issue.
That’s believable. If you’ve never been the child of a sick parent, I’m happy for you. A lot of us though, were embarrassed by it. Our parents couldn’t do the same thing as other parents, we were looked at differently by other kids. And sometimes, for whatever reason, we wound up being put in the position of caretaker at a young age.
Her reaction to that is absolutely realistic and I think some people are upset because it’s about mental health. You don’t have to like a character to sympathize with them. And this is something I found not only believable but relatable.
She’s also bisexual which I would love to say was great representation but the relationships were just impossible to believe.
I give this a two (2) our of five (5).
I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to them and the publisher.