Thursday, 5 December 2013

Review: What She Left Behind By Tracy Bilen

What She Left BehindTitle: What She Left Behind
Author: Tracy Bilen
Publication date: May 1st 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Buy: Amazon

“Don’t even think of leaving… I will find you,” he whispered. “Guaranteed.” Sara and her mom have a plan to finally escape Sara’s abusive father. But when her mom doesn’t show up as expected, Sara’s terrified. Her father says that she’s on a business trip, but Sara knows he’s lying. Her mom is missing—and her dad had something to do with it. With each day that passes, Sara’s more on edge. Her friends know that something’s wrong, but she won’t endanger anyone else with her secret. And with her dad growing increasingly violent, Sara must figure out what happened to her mom before it’s too late…for them both.

This book. Just, just wow.

Sara’s dad is violent, her mom does not stand up to him, Sara is terrified of him and she can’t help; and on top of that her big brother is dead.

Sara and her mom are planning on leaving and running as far as they can from the abuse her father afflicts on them. On the day, they are meant to run away and start over Sara’s mom doesn’t show up. Waiting for the whole day at their designated meeting place she returns home to find her dad in complete darkness telling her that her mother went away for a few weeks on a business trip. Wanting and needing to get away Sara decides to stay with her father to find out what really happened to her mother and why she is missing but at the same time not wanting to leave in case her mother does come back to for her.

I love the plot. I haven’t read a book about an abusive dad in detail and it’s such an emotional topic. The book starts off a little dull but after about 50 pages it kick starts and begins to unravel a great and thought-out plot line. For most of the ending I was on my tiptoes scared for Sara about her dad finding out that she’s snooping around trying to find answers about her missing mom. My heart was practically escaping me whenever Sara came close to being caught out by her dad. I was actually scared of a character.
Tracy Bilen can seriously create tension and make every single hair on my body stand up in fear of what would happen next. This book is so realistic that half of the time I was wondering if this was based on a real event or something. Usually I don’t read a lot of realist fiction as it’s far too realistic for my liking but this was great. I loved this book so much!

Sara is a good character. I don’t really like how she doesn’t stand up for herself. I wanted her to stand up to her dad and tell him to stop, or even call someone for help like her grandparents or someone who lives close enough to take her and her mom away. But at the same time I know that there are a lot of teenagers and kids that are in this situation and I guess that Sara’s response is ordinary and it does happen in real life. I didn’t really expect her brother to be the same and just take it when he was alive.

 Alex is a really great character. He’s by far my favourite; with the whole I don’t care about school attitude and always making some kind of joke to his teacher about his hall pass. I just loved him. Plus the name, I’m a sucker for the name Alex. I don’t understand Sara’s and Alex’s relationship though. It’s so random! They have known each other for a long time and Alex randomly decides that he likes Sara? Hmm. I wasn’t really buying this. Spoilers- At the very end when he turns up to save Sara, her mother and Zach I really thought that Alex was going to turn out to be somehow working with Sara’s dad and completely go crazy and help him kill them or something. I really thought that was going to happen…

I’m still really disappointed with the ending. The story has such a massive build up to the end. Throughout the entire book the questions “Where is Sara’s mom?” “What will her dad do?” “Why did Matt kill himself?” fly about. Even the massive plan of escaping the abuse at home and finding her mother somehow was ruined by the very end. Sure the whole cabin experience and what happened was shocking. I’m still shocked, but just the fact that everyone was fine and they somewhat lived happily ever after shocked me even more. I like the fact that none of my favourite characters were killed off. It’s a nice surprise and I didn’t have to keep my breath in wondering whether or not someone was going to be killed but at the same time I wish the ending was more shocking. It was just disappointing compared to the running around and trying not to be caught by her dad and be hit or worse killed. 

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