This <b>4 Star thriller</b> kept me fascinated much in the same way that human nature makes it difficult to turn your eyes away from a horrible car accident. Although I cannot say I actually enjoyed reading it AT ALL, I couldn't put it down!!!
In short, when they were ten years old, BFF'S Charlotte and Sean committed a pretty horrible crime, abducting a special needs boy from his backyard. They were both motherless children who had some issues of their own. After their very public trials, both placed into "care" (which I think is Brit-Speak for a secure juvenile mental health facility) for the remainder of their childhood and then some. Due to their young age at the time of the crime and the amount of hate they received from the public, they were given new identities upon their release in hopes that they would have a second chance in life.
The book opens as a newly released Charlotte is experiencing life on the outside for the first time in many years. She really wants to make a life for herself but finds everything difficult.
Sean has been out for a while, but he doesn't exactly seem to be living an exemplary life... Charlotte both hopes Sean doesn't find her and call her, yet at the same time, she hopes he does...
The story is told in both present and past tense; from both Charlotte and Sean's point of of view. It takes the reader through the events leading up to the abduction, the immediate aftermath and Charlotte's attempts to re-assimilate into life after her years in "care."
Going straight from being a totally dependant ten year old, to an inmate in a mental health facility and then after her release, being expected not only function as an adult in society, but being completely alone, unable to share anything about her past, is almost more than Charlotte can bear. She knows that being in contact with Sean is both prohibited by her probation and not a good idea for her personally, BUT... no one else understands her complicated past. The story goes from there, leading the reader down a very rocky path. I, for one, was on the edge of my seat the entire time trying to figure out whether or not Sean and /or Charlotte are inherently "bad" or whether it was all some kind of misunderstanding. When I wasn't searching the text for any indication of the "\bad / good thing," I was speeding through the book, dying to figure out if Charlotte was going to make it or mess up and end up back in "care."
<b>WHAT I LOVED</b>
I know I said I didn't enjoy reading this book, and I am sticking with that statement, but I was totally and completely fascinated by it. Getting inside the head of someone who did something like Charlotte and Sean did, particularly someone so young, was beyond interesting.
I didn't notice this until I started to write my review, but author, Amy Lloyd, never told us what Charlotte's name was before she was given her new identity. I realized that before, when anyone addresses Charlotte, they referred to her as "love" or "sweetheart" or something like that. Very clever literally trick. It definitely helped keep the whole "mystery identity" thing going.
Of course I LOVE my Brit-Lit! It's so ridiculous how much I love it.
<b>WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE</b>
My stomach hurt the whole time I was reading the book. I knew that Charlotte, a lonely ten year old girl, with whom it would have been difficult not to sympathize, was somehow going to be involved in the kidnapping of this special needs little boy. I knew that as the book progressed, I would be getting closer to finding out how she was involved, it stressed me out! Then when she was trying to start her new life, I saw her making some mistakes that I desperately wanted to fix for her but obviously, that is impossible since I'm a real person and she is a character in a book.