Phew, this was quite a read. Right from page one I was hooked. I had such a hard time putting it down so I could go to work! I'd highly recommend picking this up on a day when you don't have any other plans because you'll certainly want to read the entire book in one sitting!
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way.
Appetite for Innocence by Lucinda Berry
Appetite for Innocence is a book from the perspective of two teenage girls, Sarah and Ella. These girls are under control of a serial rapist that has captured them and locked them away in his sound-proof basement. Sarah has been there since she was twelve and now suffers from Stockholm syndrome. Ella is his latest victim that he is "grooming" until she is "ready."
One day, Ella risks it all to try to escape. The girls have heard stories that were passed down from girl to girl about how impossible it would be. Between the walls, the vicious dogs, and the bombs in the walls of the house... it seems incredibly difficult. But Ella makes it. She's in rough shape when she reaches the hospital. Luckily, her physical wounds will heal, but will she find a way to cope with the mental trauma?
I thought this book was incredible! It was so suspenseful and incredibly dark. To say that this book was an emotional rollercoaster would be an understatement; there were SO many ups and downs throughout the course of the story. Yes, there were a couple of rape scenes, but they were not super graphic, which I really appreciated. Just knowing what was happening was sickening enough. So I was really happy to see that rather than focusing on the graphic details, the writing focused more on the character trying to distance herself from what was happening.
I'm usually not a huge fan of the differing POV's or chapters that switch back and forth from current time and the past... And this book had both. But it was done SO wonderfully! I enjoyed the organization of this storyline very much because it really boosted the suspense! I was never confused, but I was always antsy to find out what, exactly, had happened, and how the girls were going to adjust.
The writing was also wonderful. It all flowed so well and even though the content was difficult, it was easy to get totally immersed in the story. And like I said above, I was hooked from page one and had a really hard time putting it down.
The characters were well developed. As a reader, I really felt a connection to the girls very early on, so reading what they went through was really difficult. Ella and Paige were my favorites. I couldn't believe how strong they were the entire time they were locked in the basement. I also really liked Sarah, but in a very different way from the other two girls. Sarah was very standoffish and of course struggled with major Stockholm syndrome, which made me so sad.
The male character, John, was incredibly creepy! I think his creepiness was elevated to an even higher level because you only learn about him through what the girls witness. So we didn't know where this house was, how he acquired it, what he did for a living, if he had a family, or anything like that.
My final thoughts:
Overall an incredible read! I would HIGHLY recommend this book! Snag it on Amazon today.