I have received an ARC copy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review. I was not compensated in any way for it and thoughts are 100% mine.
Anna Rosa Castillo is unlike most 16 year old girls.
She doesn’t care for clothes or make up, nor does she giggle with her friends about hot guys. Coming from a small town in the North of England, where drugs and criminals are at the top of the food chain, Anna’s life is an impossible mixture of pain and sorrow. Drawing and tattoos are her only way of escaping the tortures that consume her at home. She lives by only one rule – do whatever he says, and she might live long enough to get away.
All that changes when a fatal night lands the monster of her nightmares in a prison cell and herself in a hospital bed, staring into the eyes of a father she has never known.
The addition of a father and family turns Anna’s life upside-down, thrusting her into a world she could never understand. Inner demons and unspeakable memories claw at her as she tries to build a relationship with her new family. But with her past looming over her new life, will she be able to break free?
This is a first book by Annie and for a début book baby, I have to say it’s a beautiful story. Heartbreaking, sad, making you gasp every chapter at how horrific life can be.
The story is told from the POV of 16 years old Anna Castillo. The main protagonist of the story. Anna is not your usual teenager, where clothes, boys and parties are important. For her the main thing is to stay in the shadows and hopefully break free from her abusing stepfather.
We meet her at hospital, where she landed after her stepfather, Leo King, beat her up almost causing her death. Now she had broken ribs, is bruised. Her abuser landed in prison for her abusing her and murder. But that’s not what is turning her world upside down. It’s the man that comes to her rescue. Her father, who she never met. David Porter, is set in helping her and taking her away from this nightmare. After she agrees to go with him to America, to live with him and his family, she never expects that she will find, what she missed so much: father, mother, brother and friends. A family that will support her through her hell, as she is still expected to testify against Leo.
Even though she has her friend Jas, she is also betrayed by her. In addition her grandparents from hell, wants to fight the custody over her, but David is not letting them near her after hearing, what kind of monsters they were. All of them: Leo, her mother and her grandparents.
I love the story. It shows how important family is and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Anna, find her family as that light. But even after telling her family the whole truth of what was happening to her since Leo became her stepfather, she thought that they will trust her. But as her new family, they want to protect her, and sometimes they are overprotective and causes her to feel betrayed and not trusted. Even though they fought against all obstacles and becomes an amazing family.
I love Mel and how kind she is. She is a perfect mother figure. I fell in love with David, her dad, from the first meeting they had. He is snarky, knows what he wants and he wants to give Anna what she missed for the past 16 years.
I love Chloe, her best friend and I adore Jake and how they don’t judge her after what happened to her.
But I just WORSHIP her relationship with Logan, her stepbrother! You can see he loves her, he supports her and wants what is best for her. He is the perfect big brother, that every girl wants.
Beautiful story, that will make you cry, sob, snort and laugh. I felt so heartbroken, but also I love how beautifully it ends.
Well done Annie! Amazing, beautiful 5 stars! Can’t wait for the next part!