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The First Time She Drowned 

by Kerry Kletter

This book is a very depressing book, and it will ruin your day. Seriously. You can try to read it, but I am just writing a review on this book just to warn you. The book itself is about a 16-year old girl, Cassie O' Malley. Her family is abusive, and her mother forced Cassie into a mental institution. This is where she understands herself. She struggles through her two and a half years there. She befriends someone named James. He smokes, and teaches her how. She claims that the only reason why she smokes is because there is 'nothing else' to do in the bland, dull colored mental institution.

It was a sad, depressing story. Cassie was different in her family, and she was pulled from her house, and placed in a mental hospital. Her mother forced her into the car, and even tied her up, and told her brother not to help her. The reason why the book is called The First Time She Drowned, was because when she was younger, her brother always showed off in front of his mother. Cassie tried to also, but the only thing she got from her mother, was a look as if she was threatening her brother. Her mother is so full of herself, and she can manipulate you little by little.

I would recommend this book to those who like bleak stories, and depressing characters. When you read it, you feel like you are the one who is suffering. Not Cassie herself. The language is harsh, and the plot is really bad. People comment that the book is about a girl, who goes through a change, and gets into college. They claim it is a beautiful story. I wonder what they mean by that...

Priscilla, 12

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A Child Called It 

by Dave Pelzer

A Child Called It is the autobiography of Dave Pelzer, where he recounts of his childhood and endeavors child abuse by his mother through starvation, beatings, and mental abuse. Through out the whole novel he wonders why he is treated so badly by his mother, even though his oldest and youngest brothers don't receive this abuse. He as well seeks out the help of his father, however with no avail. Although, he goes through all this trauma, he manages to maintain his faith and survive through the abuse of his mother.

A Child Called It is an interesting yet unfortunate autobiography. It brings to a wider attention towards child abuse and how any little sign of abuse should be brought to attention not just pushed beside; because a parent made an excuse. I liked how specific each detail was written down and how the author uses pathos to invoke the emotion of sadness and depression. The autobiography makes it as if you were there and hearing the abuse and seeing it.

I would recommend this novel to those who like hearing true stories with explicit images in your head of what is going on. It may even leave you in tears just like me, however, it is worth reading even through the sadness. You won't even want to put the novel down and wish to want to know more.

Anahi, 17

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The Lovely Bones 

by Alice Sebold
04/29/2017 Categories: child abuse murder rape suspense

A a 14 year old girl is kidnapped, raped and murdered. She goes to "heaven" and has to watch her family and friends deal with her death and find out who killed her. She also has to accept what has happened to her and move on.

I really liked this book, it was interesting how the author made the girl go to her own heaven. It was a very emotional book and it's heartbreaking how she has to watch her family but she can't talk to them ever again. It's sad but it's hard to put down.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes books about crime and murder. If you like books about how families and friends deal with the loss of someone close to them you should read this book. It really hard to put down once you start reading.

Sandra, 16

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The Glass Castle 

by Jeannette Walls

The Glass Castle is a memoir, written by Jeannette Walls. In this book, Walls explains what it was like growing up in poverty. She recounts how her siblings and she had to live with parents who were not the type of parents to be raising so many kids. Her childhood included many difficult times that shaped her into the person she became.

I liked this book because the author had to see so many things in her childhood that many kids shouldn't see. She had to live with two parents who were not in any condition to raise children. It made me think about how lucky I am to have been raised by good parents and not to have grow up as the author did.

I think people of all ages should read this book. It makes you become aware of situations that happen everyday that you might not think about. You sympathize with the author and her siblings and what they went through. This was a very inspiring read!

Sandra, 16

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Burned 

by Ellen Hopkins
01/18/2017 Categories: child abuse family drama religion romance

With six sisters, an absent mother, abusive father, and a church who thinks she's a sinner what else can Pattyn do, but act like a perfect Mormon girl. When she just can't take it anymore, she acts out and gets sent to live with her Aunt Jeanette in Nevada. While there she learns how to be herself and how to live her life the way she wants with the guy she didn't know she wanted.

Burned is an amazing book because of the brilliant writing techniques, but also because it makes you think about how you never know what some bodies life is like until you step into their shoes. The main character's perspective on life was a new refreshing one that added a layer of depth to the storyline. Overall this book was amazing.

This book is for those who enjoy stepping out of their shoes into someone else's. Anyone can enjoy this book because the author sets a realistic, beautiful story line and main character.

Mackenzie, 15

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The Light of the Fireflies 

by Paul Pen
11/24/2016 Categories: child abuse mystery suspense

This haunting tale is of a little boy and his family that remain unnamed throughout the story. The main character who is referred to as Boy lives with his parents, brother, sister, and grandmother in a basement which is locked from the inside. Everyone in his family except him are disfigured due to a fire before his birth leaving Sister doomed to wear a white mask to cover her burns. After the birth of his sister's baby everyone begins to act secretive and leaving Boy with the question of where it could have come from. Boy is given a secret mission by his sister to find a way out of the basement and escape their Father who she swears is the father of her child. Boy sets out to find who is the real monster in his family and save his little nephew from them all.

The Light of the Fireflies is a very attention grabbing story that shows the lengths a family would go to for the safety of their loved ones. I liked how none of the characters had names because it added a sense of mystery.

I would recommend this book to older teens who want to read about mystery, suspense, and slight child abuse.

Emily, 15

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The Lovely Bones 

by Alice Sebold
04/29/2013 Categories: child abuse movie murder older teens rape

Susie Salmon is a normal, 14-year-old girl with a happy family and looks forward to going to high school and maybe dating her crush, Ray Singh.  That all changes when she is brutally raped and murdered on her way home from school and she, and her family, have to deal with the aftermath. Susie narrates to story from her personal Heaven as she comes to terms with her death and watches her loved ones move on and live in a world without her.

It was an interesting read and very touching. Expect an emotional rollercoaster, I was crying by the end, but there is a happy ending so hang in there.  I wanted to read this book because it sounded very original and I wanted to see how Sebold handeled  the whole Heaven issue and having a narrator who was dead.  I thought she handled it well overall and really shows how Susie and her family mature and move past her death.

I would recommend this book for someone that wants something different and is open to unorthodox and sometimes difficult-to-swallow subject matter.  This is not a book for someone very sensitive; there is teenage sex, rape, character death, adultery and some other subjects readers may be uncomfortable with. Read with an open mind and be ready to cry.

Rebecca, 17

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The Glass Castle: a memoir 

by Jeannette Wells

Glass Castle coverThe book is about a young girl and her rough, tedious childhood. The book shows her struggles and how she overcame them, against all odds.

I loved this book so much, it was really interesting and kept me interested until the last page!

 I would recommend this book mainly to young girls, but the interesting story can capture the heart of anyone, at any age.

Khrystina, 17

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A Child Called It 

by Dave Pelzer

Child coverThis is a very sad book about the abuse that a kid suffers at the hands of his mom.

It was a very hard book to read but makes you become aware of people's lives behind closed doors.

I would recommend it because you will get the actual meaning of someone who is being treated very badly by his own mother.

Rebecka, 14

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Never Fall Down 

by Patricia McCormick

Never Fall Down coverNever Fall Down is based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, a survivor of the brutal life in the Khmer Rouge, a communist party that had taken over Cambodia. Arn is a normal, if impoverished, boy who suddenly gets thrust into the violent life of the Khmer Rouge, and is made to commit to many things just to stay alive. Learning music is one. Handling a gun is another.

Never Fall Down was an amazing book. Powerful and poignant, it bound my heart and tugged at its strings to make a significant impact. Arn's story is memorable and something that I will read again and again.

I definitely recommend everyone to read this book. History junkies will especially like Never Fall Down. However, there are definitely some graphic aspects to this book, so read at your own discretion.

Erica, 16

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The Lovely Bones 

by Alice Sebold
06/05/2012 Categories: child abuse ghosts murder suspense

Lovely Bones coverThe Lovely Bones is told by the main character, Susie, whose murderer is unknown in the
beginning. A mixture of mystery and romance, Susie's knowledge of her murderer gives the reader anxiety because she's dead and telling her story from heaven. Susie learns more about her family when she is dead than if she would of have been alive.

This book was seriously a spine chiller!  You feel sympathy for Susie and her family. This book is filled with a lot of irony and sarcasm. The way this book is told from the beginning is amazing, because the perspective of Susie makes the reader see the whole story of a person who couldn't tell their story. Most homicides and suicides committed only have one or two stories but not the person who died. Those of us left behind usually never get the real story about how the person died or what they were thinking when they died. 

I would certainly recommend this book to older teens as it does contain intense and dramatic scenes. Alice Sebold did an amazing job crafting and writing The Lovely Bones, so I hope you read and enjoy this book.

Lauren, 16

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Identical 

by Ellen Hopkins

Identical coverIf you've ever read any of Ellen Hopkins books, this one has just as much impact, if not more. Identical follows the life of two twin girls. One suffers from bulimia and the memories of a horrible past, and the other struggles with drug abuse and neglect from her father. The book tells the story from the point of view of both twins.

This is probably one of the best books I've ever read! It was amazing! I never wanted to put it down and the ending really shocked me. It had me on edge the whole time. I loved how the point of view switched from sister to sister so you really got to know each of them. 

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes to read books about the emotional roller coaster we call life. Identical really has a way of hitting home.

Sydney, 15

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