Do you have/know a teenager who is an emotional bomb that you're not sure how to talk to? Or one that is having some problems and you are unsure of how to get a tricky conversation started?
This book could be the perfect icebreaker.
It opens with Charlie, a 17 year old girl, who has just attempted suicide, and is recovering in a treatment facility with other girls like her; who also self-harm, or how the author eloquently describes it - "write their pain on their bodies".
Charlie has endured so much in her short life; the suicide of her father, neglect and abuse at the hands of her 'empty' mother; being kicked out of home to live on the streets where she experienced unspeakable horrors; and the guilt of her best friend 'cutting too far' weighing heavily on her shoulders.
Upon her release she travels to the dessert to be closer to the boy she 'like-likes', only to find it is unrequited. She then falls for the towns 'semi-famous' bad boy; which leads to further trouble.
She falls even further into pieces, and can't seem to find a why to make her whole again.
There is no doubt that this is a heavy book. It covers some very disturbing issues. While reading this, I thought that there is no way this is appropriate for ages 14 and up. But open reconsidering and thinking back to my adolescence; I could place faces to people who had been through every gritty experience mentioned.
It is sad and unfortunate that it occurs; yet this is why I believe this is such an important book for teenage girls - perhaps 16 and up - to read.
It can help them to realise that they are not alone in their thoughts; encourage them to seek help and to speak about topics they might feel are too hard to bring up.
For parents, it can be a perfect discussion starting point.
The fact that it is also brilliantly written, means that it is so much more than just a young adult book. I literally could not put it down and finished it over two nights.
It is a really beautiful, haunting book, that you will not forget quickly!
It is available to purchase here. RRP $19.99
Published by Harper Collins.