Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Review: Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry

Title: Stronger Than You Know
Author: Jolene Perry
Author Info: Website|Blog|Facebook|Twitter
Genre: Contemporary
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen
Publication Date: 1st September 2014

Tell Me About It
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?
My Thoughts
I first fell in love with Jolene's writing when I read The Next Door Boys, since then I may be stalking her on goodreads for new books, so the minute I saw Stronger Than You Know on Netgalley I knew I had to request a copy, even though I didn't really think I would get approved.

I knew before I started reading Stronger Than You Know that it wouldn't be an easy read, that it would be emotional and that I probably would cry my heart out, and I was correct. Stronger Than You Know is an emotional, heartbreaking read. Each step that Joy made that helped her, made me feel so proud of her, proud of this little achievement towards finding a normal for herself.

Joy has gone through so much in her life, facing constant forms of abuse from her Mother, from friends of her Mother, and has not had a stable life, has had no-one she could turn to and ask for help. When the lifeline is finally thrown to her, she is saved by her Aunt, who takes her home and welcomes her into the family with no hesitation. But the damage has already been done and Joy is finding it extremely hard to adjust to this new life, to see that this new family really does want what's best for her.

This journey of self discovery is something new for Joy as she learns to navigate being around a loving, stable, family life. She has a new life, a new school, and the start of some friendships. Seeing how this new situation is hard for Joy to accept is really brought to light when she has flashbacks, or panic attacks, and her new life is compared to her old one. But Joy is a survivor, a fighter, and as the title says, she really is stronger than she knows.

Jolene has done a fantastic job of taking such a terrible subject, and making it available for others to read, but also deals with it in a sensitive way. Stronger Than You Know is just one person, one character's experience with what happens, and she has someone to fight for her, to take her in an care for her, but not everyone is lucky. Please, if you have any suspicions, or are dealing with any form of abuse yourself, speak out, don't let someone you love, or yourself suffer. There are people out there who can help you, just reach out.

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