Live Through This by Mindi Scott ( website | twitter )
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Target audience: Mature young adult
Keywords: blended families, abuse, secrets, high school
Format read: Paperback borrowed from Ginger at GReadsBooks!
Summary: Coley is on the dance team in school, has a crush on a sweet guy, and is part of a (mostly) functional blended family. From the looks of her, no one would know she carries a secret, one she has kept for many years and has the power to crush just about everything she holds dear.
Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Here, folks, is the kind of writing I yearn for. Mindi Scott injects a very serious situation into the life of a typical teenager. Family and friends exist. School and boys and ex-best friends. There are parties and alcohol, and family vacations. All of this makes up so much of the novel — all the normal stuff — that as a reader, it’s like the serious situation is not happening. It’s mere fantasy. It is buried beneath that whole waking up every day and living until… it takes over like some monster that has been hidden under the bed. And it’s real. It is so real.
If you visit the author’s website or you check out other reviews of this title, you’re going to find out the situation I speak of is sexual abuse. And unlike movies I’ve seen or other books I’ve read, this type of abuse is different. It’s not violent. It’s not angry. And as if this “relationship” Coley is involved in is not complicated enough, this behavior and her own reactions to it make her feel low and angry and confused. She also doesn’t want to imagine the fate of the person who is abusing her. That’s right… for half the book (at least) this person is a total mystery.
The author’s choice to do this quadrupled the impact when we finally do find out.
Despite the seriousness and the shock, the momentum in Live Through This pushes you forward with every page. I could not put it down, and wouldn’t until I finished. (It took me one day to read it.) I wondered what Coley would do, how far things would get, and if the other conflicts in her life were in direct relation to what was going on at home. Even though all the good in her life was good, REALLY good, it was not enough to overshadow the pain or make her forget.
This is a breaking point we see and Mindi pulls off well.
She’s a brave writer with a stark style that blends emotion and action and environment in just the right manner. And the details are not forgotten: Coley’s cute song game with Reese, her half-sister’s quirks, traditions with old friends. She really paints a whole picture and all the shades of gray that make up Coley’s life and help us to better understand her plight and the choices she must make.