Release Date: February 02, 2021
Genre: Adult Fiction / Literary Fiction / Thriller
“‘Girl A, ‘ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.'”
Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped, the eldest sister who freed her older brother and four younger siblings. It’s been easy enough to avoid her parents–her father never made it out of the House of Horrors he created, and her mother spent the rest of her life behind bars. But when her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her siblings – and with the childhood they shared.
What begins as a propulsive tale of escape and survival becomes a gripping psychological family story about the shifting alliances and betrayals of sibling relationships–about the secrets our siblings keep, from themselves and each other. Who have each of these siblings become? How do their memories defy or galvanize Lex’s own? As Lex pins each sibling down to agree to her family’s final act, she discovers how potent the spell of their shared family mythology is, and who among them remains in its thrall and who has truly broken free.
I was immediately interested in Girl A by Abigail Dean when I saw that it was about a girl that escapes from her family. Any synopsis that includes a “House of Horrors” is usually up my alley, and I love reading about messed-up families for some reason. Unfortunately, this one fell flat for me and I can see why it has such mixed reviews. It is a super slow burn, and it is definitely character-driven over plot. I don’t usually mind either of those things, but I didn’t think the end had the payout I was hoping for after all of that, and this has got to be one of the vaguest books I have ever read. If you’re going to write a book about a girl escaping her abusive family, I want to know what happened, not just a super-vague idea. That is a personal preference though and I know some readers will appreciate the fact that you don’t really know everything that happened in that house.
I also wouldn’t call Girl A a twisty read, although there was one thing that completely shocked me. In general, this book is hard to read despite being vague, but I loved that Lex was such a survivor. My childhood wasn’t quite as bad as hers, thankfully, but I still had a bit of a similar upbringing and I was able to relate to her a little bit because of this. I think I just needed more from this story and I wish there would have been more twists. This would also probably be really good on audio if the narrator is good. I would still recommend this to anyone who likes the sound of the synopsis, and I will definitely take a look at whatever Dean writes next.