After being severely mauled by a grizzly bear in the Rocky Mountains, seventeen-year-old Abby Hughes’s facial disfigurement sends young children screaming into their mothers’ arms. Returning to high school, that most intensely judgmental of places, Abby is forced to combat rejection, bullying and betrayal. In order to accept herself and ask others to do the same, she too must learn to dig below the surface to see people for who they really are. Her love of acting and her return to drama class may be the key, or it may be the disaster that drives her from high school (and society) altogether.
First of all, thank you so much to Leanne for sending me a copy of the book! It came with the cutest little sticky note that I will treasure forever (and I definitely enjoyed the read!). I think one of the ways that you can tell you loved a book is whether or not you’re able to put it down. I started and finished this book within hours. Just, ignored all of my school work and just read all night. It was really refreshing and such a nice distraction from university life haha.
Overall, I really enjoyed the read. I think it had a lot of strong messages about self-love and acceptance, and also had a really diverse cast of characters. I think Leanne’s story does a really great job of showing how diverse real life is, even in smaller communities. And I think it really approached trauma in a nuanced way. Abby’s journey was focused on Abby and how she felt, how she wanted to heal, and in general how surviving trauma has no clear path. Like with her boyfriend Liam – he processed and deals with his trauma differently than Abby, and it shows that both of their methods are fine. It doesn’t put either of them down, merely shows how important communication and trust are.
Another thing that I really liked was how nuanced all of the characters were. The beehive were all shown to have insecurities and non-perfect lives, Liam I’ve mentioned before, and even Abby was shown to be an imperfect person. I really liked that no one was painted to be the ideal person, and that everyone had levels that were shown to a believable degree.
One thing that didn’t sit extremely well with me was the use of Indigenous imagery. In the book and in Leanne’s bio there were hints about Indigenous roots, so the use of Indigenous imagery was perhaps not the most appropriate.
Overall, I would give this book a 3.5/5, a super light and fun read that really speaks to self acceptance and acceptance of others.
Thats all for now ducks, I’ll see you soon!