Let me start this review by saying I have a teenage daughter. Now, as a mom, I can’t be the only one ever to have one of those dreams…one of those terrifying nightmares where your child is basically the devil incarnate and you’re just feverishly drowning in helplessness, no matter what you do the situation/your child cannot be swayed, controlled or tempered. Like trying to slog through the quicksand stairs while the monster is chasing you. This book is like living that nightmare and you just can’t escape from it.
I was completely riveted by this story. It plays on so so many parental fears, fears we all have,
‘am I doing this right?’
‘Should I have done it this way or that way instead?’
‘Am I wrong for thinking this..or feeling that?’
‘Am I a good mother?’
It made me waiver constantly on my feelings towards Suzette. Much of her thought process was so relatable. We tend to, right or wrong, have a constant internal battle with ourselves and Suzette was a pretty spectacular example of this. Even the way she constantly compared her upbringing to that which she provided for her daughter. We all strive to ‘be better’, we all want for our children that which we felt we lacked and needed the most. On the flip side though, she could be selfish and quick to think or expect the worst, although considering her history it wasn’t exactly a stretch to see why she would do so in some ways, and her constant desire to exude perfection, especially to her husband was concerning. Really she was a spectacularly flawed human, much like the rest of us. I mean, can you still call it paranoia if there’s a legitimate reason to be paranoid?
Hannah was an equally compelling character. It was easy to teeter back and forth between feeling sympathy for her and wondering how much of what was happening with her was in fact due to the dynamic in the household, or stemming from Suzette’s shortcomings or overreaching and her father’s overcompensation and denial, or being terrified of the fact that maybe she is a deeply disturbed little girl capable of horrifying actions. Either way it was impossible to look away, I was as determined as Suzette to get to the bottom of this mystery. Admittedly some of her actions seemed over the top and to be a thrill just for the sake of the thrill, but it was honestly still riveting nonetheless.
I don’t want to spoil anything because a lot of the page-turning fun of this book is waiting to find out what is really happening and which side you will ultimately fall on. Although I will say that even at the very end I still found myself conflicted on that! But I must say, as frustrating as that can be, it was also an unexpected surprise and I feel like it fit the story as a whole quite well. I truly enjoyed this book and had trouble putting it down, it was pretty much everything it promised it would be, a disturbing, fast paced page-turner that will keep you engrossed till the very end!