The course of true love definitely doesn’t run smooth when it’s a relationship with a self-abusing and abused drug dealer.
Anna’s initial attraction to moody, secretive classmate Abel firms up when she sees his total devotion to his little sister Micha and, with her, becomes wrapped up in a multi-episode tale he spins about a young Princess on the run from scary pursuers. There are warnings aplenty: Her friends caution her, Abel is obviously struggling to get by while claiming that his absent-for-weeks single mother would be back any time and the murders of Micha’s violent, jailbird father and an insistent social worker. Nevertheless, Anna steadfastly sticks with him until, at last, he responds to her amorous advances by raping her—and confessing that he had been molested for years as a child. Anna finds her feelings for him unchanged, even after it comes out just how he had been supporting himself and Micha. Awarding Abel with the usual fate given fictive teens bearing so many inner (and outer) scars, Michaelis stirs snowy weather, Leonard Cohen lyrics, multiple corpses and an unusually rich array of lovable, hateful, loyal and treacherous supporting characters into a grim, bitter story that will leave all but the hardest readers shocked and sad.
An unsettling tapestry of ugly secrets, violence, suspense, twisted motives and love’s unfathomable ways. (Fiction. 14-18)