My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Time Taken To Read - 3 days
Blurb From Goodreads
Sarah Mullen is a beautiful child who at seven years old is put into care by her drug-addicted mother. Trying to live with the rejection is bad enough, but no one could have prepared her for the pain that was yet to come. Harry Shaw is the boy that everyone bullies, the kid whose own mother locked him in a cupboard so she wouldn't have to look at his face, and then left him there. When he meets Sarah for the first time, a friendship is instantly forged. And out of a desire to be loved an alliance is born. Then into their lives comes Vinnie Walker, a good-looking and calculating thirteen-year-old who will change both their lives forever.
This tale kicks off pretty quick, a little girl tormented and battered by her mother and subjected to horrors by her friends. She is removed from her mothers "care" after an incident and placed into care. She meets people who will be bound to her life in different ways and will shape the person she will become. Betrayal, friendship, loyalty, brutality, shame, distrust is just a few of the issues covered in this story.
It is split over a few decades although the story flows so you don't miss anything and can follow easily. I could have read this in one sitting had circumstances allowed. Although the story is spread over a significant time period, all the questions you have from one are answered in latter part. This story provokes different emotions from rage and anger at a mother who can behave as she did and treat her child so, to admiration for a girl who bounces back no matter what life throws at her.
The characters are life like and well portrayed, from the bullied geeky Harry who shows how strong friendship can be. To the despicable, calculating and nasty Vinnie who you get to see from a young laddy to a grown man and the lengths one person will go to to get what he wants. It is no secret I love Mandasue Heller's books and writing and sometimes when you go back to earlier stuff you find you don't enjoy it as much or find something lacking. Thankfully this wasn't the case, I loved this as much as her recent writings and will get the others I have missed so far. 5/5 for me, as always if this is a new author to you, there is sex, violence, aggression, swearing, murder and all the usual that follows nitty gritty crime. If you like Martina Cole you will love Mandasue Heller.