I read this about a week ago and cannot stop thinking about it. I find my mind drifting to the story as I lay awake in bed. Now if that is not the sign of a good book, I don’t know what is!
Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped, the eldest sister who freed her siblings. But when her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the home into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her siblings–and with the childhood they shared.
She thought she had escaped her past. But there are some things you can’t outrun.
Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped, the eldest sister who freed her older brother and four younger siblings. It’s been easy enough to avoid her parents–her father never made it out of the House of Horrors he created, and her mother spent the rest of her life behind bars. But when her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the home into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her siblings–and with the childhood they shared.
What begins as a propulsive tale of escape and survival becomes a gripping psychological family story about the shifting alliances and betrayals of sibling relationships–about the secrets our siblings keep, from themselves and each other. Who have each of these siblings become? How do their memories defy or galvanize Lex’s own? As Lex pins each sibling down to agree to her family’s final act, she discovers how potent the spell of their shared family mythology is, and who among them remains in its thrall and who has truly broken free.
For readers of Room and Sharp Objects, an absorbing and psychologically immersive novel about a young girl who escapes captivity–but not the secrets that shadow the rest of her life.
Girl A is a gripping psychological family story and an unflinching book that examines trauma, healing, and forgiveness. I have seen this book billed as a thriller, and it is most definitely not. What it is a well-written, multilayered debut that will surprise you and stay in your memory.
The book has multiple timelines where both the story of their childhood and the present, where their mother had just died, are told. The siblings are both well developed as are their complex relationships. There are also a couple twists that will surprise you, although I did suspect one of them.
I found Girl A to be a compelling and gripping read. I think Dean did an excellent job describing the abuse Lex and her siblings faced without being graphic or overly detailed. While it still may be triggering for some, I applaud Dean for discussing these topics without making the book tragedy porn. While Girl A is not an easy read, it is an honest and scathing portrayal of the ways society turns away from what we do not want to see and try to profit off other’s suffering.
Overall, Girl A is a powerful character study and a remarkable story of resilience, survival, and family. I highly recommend this book, if it sounds like something you may enjoy.
Mysteries & Thrillers
February 2, 2021