A white teenage girl must navigate the emotional aftermath of her rescue from an abusive kidnapper.
Sixteen-year-old Charlotte is rescued after four years imprisoned in the attic of a man she calls her Keeper. Despite her ordeal, she is determined to move on with her life as best she can, but she is shocked to discover the damage her absence wreaked on her family. Her parents are divorced, her mother has developed an alcohol problem, and her twin sister, Alexa, morphed from a happy-go-lucky young girl into an angry teenager with a troubled history. Dismayed, Charlotte becomes obsessed with trying to prove that her Keeper had previously abducted another girl before her—The One Before, who had not survived—in the desperate hope of giving that girl's family the closure her own family lacked while she was gone. She focuses her remaining energies on fulfilling the childhood goals she and Alexa once dreamed about, including their hope of joining the high school cheerleading squad. As narrated by Charlotte in the present tense, her path to recovery often feels forced. Too, her family's interactions lack subtlety and sensitivity proportionate to the horrors she experienced, contributing to a jarring dissonance between the sensitive nature of the subject matter and the tone of the narrative.
A melodramatic take on a sensitive subject. (resources) (Fiction. 14-18)