Author: Jolene Perry
Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen
Pub Date: September 1st, 2014
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After police intervention, fifteen-year-old Joy has finally escaped the trailer where she once lived with her mother and survived years of confinement and abuse. Now living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in a comfortable house, she’s sure she’ll never belong. Wracked by panic attacks, afraid to talk to anyone at her new school, Joy’s got a whole list of reasons why she’s crazy. With immense courage, Joy finds friends and grows closer to her new family. But just when hope is taking hold, she learns she must testify in her mother’s trial. Can she face her old life without losing her way in the new one? Will she ever truly belong in a world that seems too normal to be real?
“I’m still in shock over the things that happened to me. The things I didn’t know weren’t normal. And now that I know what normal can be, I’m amazed I survived.”
When I started I knew it would be emotional but I had no idea what I was getting into. Joy didn’t just have a bad home life, it was awful. She was abused, both emotionally and physically by everyone she had meet until she was finally taken away at the age of 16.
She moves in with her Aunt Nicole, Uncle Rob and their two kids, Tara and Trent. Joy goes from being with awful horrible family to a regular American home. It was so well written that I understood everything she was going through… well to a fault.
For example when she got there she felt as if she was a nuisance, someone they had to take in not someone they wanted. As the story evolved and Joy’s self esteem went up, she realized they didn’t have to take her but they wanted her there. Even if she was a little crazy and broken.
Her story broke my heart so many times but the absolute worst was when Joy tried to be around her Uncle the first few times: “He was a man I didn’t know in a house I didn’t know, and maybe certain things were going to be expected of me. A lot had been expected of me in the past. I had no reason to believe that Uncle Rob was any different.”
I mean how awful is that she can’t even trust her own family! Joy still tries to live a normal-ish life, she goes to school but she doesn’t think things can get better until she meets Justin. For the first time since she can remember she is able to face a guy and not need a pill.
Justin was such a sweet guy, I mean of all the YA studs he definitely takes the cake. He’s sweet and understanding with a lot of love and patience. He never pushed Joy but was waiting for her to make a move. He wasn’t the only adorable person, there was also Daisy. She was a homeschool Karate pro who became Joy’s best friend. She was as wild as Joy was cautious and they helped each other.