I thought this book was really well-written. The pace and the style of the story kept me reading long past my bedtime and I was always keen to pick it up. It touched on some really difficult subjects, such as sexual abuse, drug abuse and paedophilia, without being sensationalist and gave the reader just enough information to be suitably shocked but without being overly graphic.
The plot was really interesting. You have a kid who was taken into the woods aged five and has had nothing to do with civilisation since then. The possibilities as far as a plot is concerned are almost endless and the author does a really good job of exploring them. Okay, there were some bits that had me raising an eyebrow in disbelief (would someone who is as voracious a reader as Carey really never have heard of contact lenses?), but in all this aspect of the plot was really well explored. Carey and Nessa’s re-integration into society were really interesting to read about and at times my heart just went out to them.
Actually, the plot as a whole was well done. There were enough flashbacks into Carey’s life in the woods to provide a nice contrast with her current situation and although I thought the plotline with Carey’s mum needed some resolution I really enjoyed it.
What let this book down, I felt, was the MC. Although I loved Carey’s loyalty to her sister and the way she fought to protect her (in fact, I really liked the relationship between Nessa and Carey - it was beautiful), in all other respects she was a complete Mary-Sue. Possibly the most Mary-Sueish Mary-Sue I’ve ever read about. Here’s how much of a Mary-Sue she is:
1) She’s beautiful (but never realised it before)
2) Great figure
3) Kind to everyone she meets
4) Super talented on the violin
5) Two years ahead of her peers academically
6) Crazy survival skills
7) Best-looking boy in school falls instantly in love with her
GAH! She desperately needed some dark to provide contrast to all this awesomeness. Even when her stepsister is openly nasty to her (and I wasn’t keen on this relationship either - Delaney was pretty one-dimensional and her nastiness felt really gratuitous) she turns the other cheek.
And when we find out that she did do something really bad (and it was really bad) when she lived in the woods, she had a really good, noble reason for doing it. Again - gah!
All in all, though, this was a good story and if you can get over a too-good-to-be-true protagonist, it’s worth a look.