girl a

Hi friends! This was my book selection for my February Book of the Month Box. It’s one of my favorite book subscription boxes because I get one book a month for the subscription price, but I can add up to two other books if any others strike my fancy. I’m not a Book of the Month affiliate or partner (I wish!), but you can sign up using my referral link here, if you’re interested.

Synopsis & Quick Thoughts

Girl A is, from what I can tell, Abigail Dean’s debut novel. Lex Gracie grew up in a House of Horrors. Abused alongside her five siblings by her parents, Lex escaped and freed her siblings and tried to move on from the past. But when her mother dies and leaves the family home to her children, Lex must turn to face the past she’s tried to leave behind and join together to come to terms with what has happened.

The most important thing to note about this book is that it most definitely is not a thriller. This is a hard-hitting contemporary and I think I would have enjoyed this book significantly more if my expectations were more in line with the genre. In total honesty, this book felt slow and was much more of a character study and info dump than I was expecting. While there was a big ‘twist’ at the end, it felt too little too late to be of any redeeming quality for me.

Positives

I think this book does a good job exploring the relationships between each of the siblings in this family after their survival and escape from this house of horrors. The prose was well constructed and very multilayered and does well to explore the wide range of emotions that Lex and her siblings experience over the course of the plot.

This book is certainly emotional and thought-provoking, and I appreciated those things. A lot of the time the plots of books are focused on the events surrounding the horrors as they occur and not the trauma and fallout after the fact. This was a unique take on an abuse survival story and explored a different side to that cliché that made me think more than I had expected to.

Negatives

I always hate when the biggest deterrent I have about a book is when its marketed genre does not match the actual genre of the book. It makes me so sad because I do believe there’s a world in which I would have really, really enjoyed this book and rated it highly – if I had been in the proper headspace with the right expectations going into this novel. I went into this book expecting a thriller and I got a hard-hitting contemporary character study. Although the book flips back and forth between the events at the House of Horrors in the past and the aftermath of those events in the present, there’s no tension or suspense anywhere in the plot.

Also holy COW does it bother me when authors don’t use chapters to jump timelines. This book really gave me a headache trying to keep up with the convoluted time jumps. It really happened every other paragraph with no warning or indication. It’s not hard to add a header or a divider or something to indicate what you’re doing. I know it might be a comment on the characters’ traumas and states of mind, but frankly…I don’t care. It took me out of the story and hurt my head. Do better.

Rating & Final Thoughts

Girl A is, unfortunately, 2.5 out of 5 stars for me. In another time, I could see myself bumping up this rating a half star to a star if I didn’t go in expecting a thriller, but the slow pace and convoluted timeline structure would prevent this book from getting a higher rating no matter the circumstance. As a lover of true crime, psychological thrillers, and other sorts of messed-up literature, I felt really let down with this one. If you decide to look into it, I think you may enjoy it, with proper expectations.

Buy Girl A by Abigail Dean here.*

3 thoughts on “girl a

    1. So strictly from a prose standpoint I enjoyed her writing. It’s pretty to-the-point and easy to digest; I don’t like overly flowery, wordy, or pretentious writing. It’s written in first-person past tense and was easy to get sucked into, albeit slightly emotionless for the intensity of the topics being covered.

      My major issue lies with the fact that she slides back and forth between the past and the present from one paragraph to the next and oftentimes it’s so smooth that I won’t realize there’s been a time jump. I ended up going back and re-reading to orient myself in the plot more times than I could count, which I found to be confusing, frustrating, and ultimately detracted from the experience for me.

      From what I can tell on Goodreads, the confusing timeline was one of the major drawbacks to this book and I’d have to agree with that. If you don’t think that sort of structure would bother you, maybe give this one a go? Normally I enjoy books with multiple timelines but the way these were handled took a lot of the momentum out of the plot for me each time the timeline switched.

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      1. Yeah in general I also prefer a non-showy type of writing. If this is a story about ‘abuse’ and/or trauma, then I might understand that the author is not leading us towards a denouement or “explosion” of sorts, but instead making us wade through the complexity of the relationships while remembering the past; and she might be an unreliable narrator purposely, demonstrating that her experiences have changed her…

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