A gripping and unsettling page-turner that packs a deeply emotional punch.
The media knows Lex as Girl A — the eldest of six siblings who escaped her parents’ house of horrors and helped free her sisters and brothers from a life of neglect, violent physical and emotional abuse. Fast forward a decade or so, the siblings (all adopted and raised by different families) are now adults. Some, like Lex, now a lawyer in New York City, seem to have knitted themselves back together into the semblance of a functioning whole, while others are more visibly struggling. When Lex’s mother dies in prison, the siblings are reunited — in her last will, mommy dearest has left the “house of horrors” to her kids.
It’s the “house of horrors” that ties together not only the dual timelines of past and present narration but also serves as a literal representation of the trauma each of the six siblings (be it Girl A or Boy B) will need to face. Flashbacks of the past detail the abuse endured at the house and how it’s shaped the siblings and their bonds differently. In the present, each sibling carries with them an unseen inheritance (suffering, unhealthy relationships, simmering violence) from their time at the “house of horrors.” Now (that the house is literally theirs), their inheritance is tangible. Its dilapidated ruin is there to stare them in the face — should they wish to see it — and this presence affects them each in different ways.
Girl A is a character study with all the unputdownable elements of a thriller, and there’s a twist right at the end that I did not see coming — at all! It’s unflinching in its portrayal of neglect and abuse and not an easy read, but this survivor story is ultimately one of hope despite the tough subject matter.
Book: Girl A
Publication Date: January 21th, 2021