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Publisher's Summary

When 15 year old Skye's mother finally does something so shocking that it can't be hushed up, the police turn her over to the social workers - and that's when the nightmare begins.

No one will let her talk to her father; the woman who is supposed to be helping her dumps her in a terrifying 'home' that's more like a jail. But she still has one friend to turn to: the sympathetic girl she's met in an internet chat room, the one who seems to have a home life as unhappy as Skye's. And Jade offers her a safe place to stay....

Alone in Manchester, nearly penniless, Skye is willing to trust Jade. Even when it isn't Jade who turns up at the rendezvous, but a grown-up man who says he's Jade's brother....

Mandasue Heller was born in Cheshire and moved to Manchester in 1982. She spent ten years living in the notorious Hulme Crescents which have since become the background to her novels. Not only is she a talented writer, but she has also sung in cabaret and rock groups, seventies soul cover bands and blues jam bands.

©2015 Mandasue Heller (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Riveting, Dark Suspense

What did you love best about Afraid?

This book is an addictive page-turner that I could not put down, compelled to see what happened minute by minute to Skye Benson and her dad, Jeff Benson, the two main narrators of this great story. The suspense built like crazy until the final, shocking conclusion, and it thrilled at every turn.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The story is told in the points of view of Skye, just turned fifteen and on the run following events at home beyond her control, and she realizes she has only herself to rely on if she is to escape her certain fate in a violent children's home. Jeff Benson is her father, a victim of his wife's mental illness and a system seemingly designed to keep him down, while the police haunt his every movement as he tries to survive both physically and mentally following his daughters disappearance. I found both characters to be sympathetic and both held my interest intensely.

What about Colleen Prendergast’s performance did you like?

The performance was pitch-perfect for each character and her narration really brought the plights of the characters to life. Bravo!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was not only on the edge of my seat but found myself having real feelings for these characters. They inspired sympathy, hope, and resilience in the face of extreme hardships that most people will never have to endure. The end was especially touching.

Any additional comments?

I was surprised how much I loved "Afraid" and immediately am seeking out other audiobooks by Mandasue Heller. This is a great story that is carried by great writing and awesome character development along with a suspenseful and thought-provoking plot. I highly recommend readers to pick up this audiobook and experience it for themselves!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Andy Russell
  • 12-04-15

Disturbing but worth it

What did you like most about Afraid?

It would be difficult to say I 'liked' anything about the book as I found listening to it a very very unsettling and at times upsetting. I knew what the book was going to be about so this is no complaint but normally I can listen to any genre without feeling upset. It's a great book but the subject is very harrowing and I hadn't been prepared for how much so.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Afraid?

I quite liked the epilogue so you weren't left wondering about loose ends.

What about Colleen Prendergast’s performance did you like?

Great voice performance, several characters to do and she gave them all a great recognizable personality.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Very upsetting book. Apart from the obvious , that is the plot described in the blurb, there are brief descriptions of rape and animal cruelty which I found hard going.

Any additional comments?

I am glad I listened to this book and I feel it's probably quite realistic. The one very strange this is that the language and descriptions used are almost like those used in teen / young adult novels. Over use of 'hooded look' and 'crooning' which was a little annoying. I would recommend the book but I feel this will stay with me for some time. I had to listen to the last 5 hours in one go just to get it out of the way as I was unable to look forward to the next listen as I was anxious about what the next horrible thing would be.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • just for charity
  • 12-04-15

Harrowing

Gripping page turner couldn't put it down but a painful storyline and subject matter, especially for parents

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • kates1963
  • 02-14-16

loved this book

the book was really good and easy to listen to and to follow recommend this

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sylv Sheehan
  • 01-15-16

I loved this book

What did you like most about Afraid?

It was mostly credible. The storyline was a bit different, and it was set in the north of England.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Afraid?

The way the perpetrator controlled his victim, and how he manipulated the situation

What does Colleen Prendergast bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The reading was really good, as were the voices and intonations

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes - I listened to it within a week. I couldn't stop!

Any additional comments?

I haven't read this author's work before but would certainly do so in the future

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • I OFarrell
  • 12-30-15

Brilliant suspense

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I needed a break from the intensity and to make it last longer. When you get a good book you don't want it to end.

Any additional comments?

This book had me gripping the edge of my seat the entire way through. Skye doesn’t have grand ambitions, but they don’t include having her life turned upside down by her mother and her mismanaged illness. If only she had stayed at her friend’s house that day, instead of walking in on the chaos of her home life. Things quickly jump from bad to worse and then continue on the slippery slope, and Skye has to reinvent herself to hold onto the small bit of life that she is left with. This is a tragic and moving story about a girl who, from no fault of her own, finds one terrible situation after another. The people that love her are not able to help and she is at the mercy of those who continually harm her. I shed tears for Skye; the character was well-written and the story unfolded in a fantastically suspenseful manner. A brilliant story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • katie
  • 12-12-15

Very good all-rounder for a quick book

At first this book appears very predictable but it was very surprising. Hard to pit down this gripping story!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Elissa Ullah
  • 08-04-18

Gripping, sad and emotional

Excellent book again by heller she’s so good, amazing story and great reader could not put it off , it’s a wonderful but heart wrenching book

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Christina
  • 02-19-18

great read

Would you listen to Afraid again? Why?

yes really gripped me

What other book might you compare Afraid to, and why?

martina cole her books read the same

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

made me a little sad

Any additional comments?

really kept me listening

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • iamzoe
  • 08-05-17

Confused about the narrator's accent.

This was my first audible download and not sure what to expect, I was slightly shocked to find the narrator' voice was from the Yorkshire region rather than a Mancunian accent. It didn't fit well with the story. However, having said that I did still enjoy the book and will continue with my subscription.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • ZedBooks
  • 07-19-17

NO VARIATIONS ON THE THEME

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A MUCH MORE INGENIOUS PLOT

What was most disappointing about Mandasue Heller’s story?

Yet another plot involving the multiple abduction, abuse and murder of young girls by a psychopathic pervert. Very little deviance from the tale already told my many other authors. This is a case of a mighty leap onto the bandwagon.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The narration wasn't bad, but there were times when I wondered whether the narrator actually understood the meaning of the material written

Any additional comments?

This was a big disappointment.