Today it is my turn to tell you about this emotional story...
Please keep reading for my review and for a giveaway!
About the Book
Girl on the Brink
by Christina Hoag
Genre: YA Romance/Thriller
Release date: August 30th 2016
Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books
Sometimes the one you love isn’t the one you’re meant to be with.
The summer before senior year, Chloe starts an internship as a reporter at a local newspaper. While on assignment, she meets Kieran, a quirky aspiring actor. Chloe becomes smitten with Kieran’s charisma and his ability to soothe her soul, torn over her parents’ impending divorce. But as their bond deepens, Kieran becomes smothering and flies into terrifying rages. He confides in Chloe that he suffered a traumatic childhood, and Chloe is moved to help him. If only he could be healed, she thinks, their relationship would be perfect. But her efforts backfire, and Kieran turns violent. Chloe breaks up with him, but Kieran pursues her relentlessly to make up. Chloe must make the heartrending choice between saving herself or saving Kieran, until Kieran’s mission of remorse turns into a quest for revenge.
“An engrossing tale of a dangerous teen romance.” -- Kirkus Reviews
“Girl on the Brink is a must have for every high school and public library.” – Isabelle Kane, Wisconsin high school librarian
ABOUT TEEN DATING VIOLENCE
Abusive relationships are widespread, cutting across socioeconomic, racial and ethnic, religious and gender preference lines. One in three high school girls experience dating violence, while more than half of college-aged women reported experiencing controlling behavior in a relationship. Eighty-nine percent of female college students said they were unable to recognize the signs of an abusive relationship, and a third of teens involved in intimate partner violence ever told anyone about it.
For more information, see http://www.breakthecycle.org/dating-violence-research.
About the Author
Christina Hoag is the author of Girl on the Brink, a romantic thriller for young adults (Fire and Ice YA/Melange Books, August 2016) and Skin of Tattoos, a literary thriller set in L.A.’s gang underworld (Martin Brown Publishing, September 2016). She is a former reporter for the Associated Press and Miami Herald and worked as a correspondent in Latin America writing for major media outlets including Time, Business Week, Financial Times, the Houston Chronicle and The New York Times. She is the co-author of Peace in the Hood: Working with Gang Members to End the Violence, a groundbreaking book on gang intervention (Turner Publishing, 2014). She resides in Los Angeles. For more information, see www.christinahoag.com.
Title: Girl on the Brink
Author: Christina Hoag
Format: Digital ARC
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
There is so much I want to say about this book, but where do I start…
This one was a very emotional read for me and it still hits me even as I sit here typing.
Girl on the Brink tells the story of Chloe a soon-to-be senior in high school who has a great internship at the local newspaper and thought her future couldn’t be brighter. However, that was before her parents separated, her dad moved out, and her mom started using pills and alcohol to cope with the situation. With her best friend headed off to Summer camp, Chloe is not sure who she can depend on to help her through the Summer.
Enter Kieran, a smooth-talking, wannabe-actor who makes Chloe feel like she is the most important person in the world. Chloe thinks she couldn’t have found anyone more perfect and finds herself falling in love. Sure he comes on a little strong at first and almost seems too nice, but that just means he really cares, right? Poor Chloe just doesn’t know what is in store for her.
Kieran slowly starts raising some red flags, that I, as a reader, was definitely able to spot. He starts isolating Chloe from her friends, making her dependent on him, giving her guilt trips, acting jealous, and a million other things that should have served as warnings to Chloe. However, as with many victims of abuse, Chloe doesn’t allow herself to recognize these signs until it is almost too late. I won’t say too much more so I don’t spoil it, but there were times when I just wanted to yell at these characters they frustrated me so much…but I guess that is a testament to how well the author wrote them and their story.
At the beginning of the book, things seem normal…the calm before the storm, if you will. I don’t know if it was because I was expecting something to happen because of the blurb or because the author intended for Kieran to come across in a way that just seemed like something was off, but I was so tense waiting to see what would be the turning point. When would the “perfect guy” mask fall and the charade end? Or maybe I am just cynical and look for the flaws…but in this case, I was correct. It's not long before Chloe's relationship with Kieran invades all aspects of Chloe's life and the tension begins to escalate. All of Chloe’s other relationships, her work, and even her future are eventually affected in some way by this one single relationship in her life.
To make it even sadder, Chloe truly loved Kieran. Having never witnessed or experienced domestic abuse she naively believed she could help Kieran, who claimed to be a victim of childhood abuse, get help for his problems and that it would change things...it would change Kieran. And yes, maybe Kieran did need help, but all I wanted to do was to hug Chloe and tell her that she needed to help herself first and then she could find help for him. Tell somebody!
As I alluded to above, I had a complicated relationship with the characters in this story. Occasionally I got glimpses of the strong young woman Chloe could and would be without Kieran in her life and I’d get excited, but the next thing you know she is back to being a shell of her former self and I’d be frustrated again. The author did a great job showing how an abusive relationship, physical, emotional, verbal, etc., can truly affect who you are as a person. Chloe has such growth in the book, but it is mostly toward the end of the book.
I felt so much for Chloe because she is so alone at times in this story and I realize that there are millions of Chloes out there everywhere. Chloe’s story could easily have been anyone’s story…male or female. It’s important that we recognize the signs both in our relationships and in other’s relationships so we can get help before it is too late.
I once took a self-defense class that touched on the red flags for domestic abuse in relationships and how you can recognize them. Based on Chloe’s reactions and the initial reactions of her friends to the situation, I am wondering if all teens (and adults) need to take a class because I realize that this is how some of them think. “It will never happen to me.” “He/she’s just really into you.” “What did you do to make him/her mad?” “Well, why didn’t you say anything?” “That just happens in the movies.” “He/She didn’t mean it.” These aren’t quotes from the book, but they could have been just as they are probably words that are said everyday in real life. And this just breaks my heart.
While heartbreaking, Girl on the Brink manages to portray an abusive relationship in an honest and real way without being too overly dramatic. I am so grateful for Christina Hoag for sharing this powerful story and I hope that teens and adults will read this book.
ALSO, IT IS NEVER OKAY FOR ANYONE TO PUT THEIR HANDS ON YOU WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT!
AND EMOTIONAL AND VERBAL ABUSE IS STILL ABUSE!
My Rating: 4 Stars
*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
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