4 out of 5 stars.
Above all, this book surprised me. I picked it up thinking that it would be something else than it was – but it turned out to be the story of a girl raping a boy and how that echoed over the next 25 years, the repercussions that it had, and what all of the now-adults involved had to do in order to heal. I was pretty pleased, to be honest – although it was a tough story – that it was what it was, because not many books address that topic. Self harm was also addressed, except in an adult man, which also made me happy in the sense that not many people are aware that males are also affected by self harm, and that adults can be as well. So I feel that Watt did a good job of covertly raising awareness about some things that should be talked about more among certain audiences. (I think this is my inner social worker coming out.)
The main characters, Andrew and Karla – well, I liked Andrew, for all that he bumbled around. Karla is not a character that one likes, I don’t think. She was the one that raped Andrew, and she was not a nice teenager and even 25 years later, was still a shell of that scared, abused, and abusive teenager. The other characters that were practically main characters – Clare, Anne, Liezl, and Erika – were painted well and likably. The adults in the 1978 part of the story (since it flip-flops back and forth from present-day to 1978, when it all began) were well painted, and it was easy for me to imagine Matthias’ and Karla’s father being abusive to them from what little we saw of him in the story.
The storyline itself goes on at a fairly good pace for the first third. The middle third is a little slower, and I found that it was tough for me to want to read it, but by the final third, things pick up again. The ending actually zooms and is a very satisfying ending, given the nature of the story. Healing is found for all of the people involved. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a good redemptive story, and I will be keeping my eye out for any further books that Watt writes.
Many thanks to Smith Publicity via NetGalley for an opportunity to read and review this book.