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For readers of Room and Sharp Objects, a propulsive and psychologically immersive novel about a young girl who escapes captivity--but not the secrets that shadow the rest of her life. "'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 For readers of Room and Sharp Objects, a propulsive and psychologically immersive novel about a young girl who escapes captivity--but not the secrets that shadow the rest of her life. "'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.


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For readers of Room and Sharp Objects, a propulsive and psychologically immersive novel about a young girl who escapes captivity--but not the secrets that shadow the rest of her life. "'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 For readers of Room and Sharp Objects, a propulsive and psychologically immersive novel about a young girl who escapes captivity--but not the secrets that shadow the rest of her life. "'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.

30 review for Girl A

  1. 5 out of 5

    daph pink ♡

    [email protected]% Honestly I feel a little bit bad about DNF'ing this one, and seeing that many people have enjoyed it, I feel like I might just have commitment issues, but I promised myself that I wasn't going to do anything that I don't fully enjoy. What I read up to 60% wasn't bad, but I found myself skim reading through a lot of the inner monologues of the characters, and that's where I know it's bad for me. Things this book made me feel: •boredom because I thought it would be thriller sort of thing and [email protected]% Honestly I feel a little bit bad about DNF'ing this one, and seeing that many people have enjoyed it, I feel like I might just have commitment issues, but I promised myself that I wasn't going to do anything that I don't fully enjoy. What I read up to 60% wasn't bad, but I found myself skim reading through a lot of the inner monologues of the characters, and that's where I know it's bad for me. Things this book made me feel: •boredom because I thought it would be thriller sort of thing and 240 pages in I realized it is more of how their lives changed after “whatever” happened with them •confusion because the timelines changes after every paragraph •the endless void of the info dump Things I lost while trying to read this: •several hours in which I procrastinated reading the next sentence

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    Breathtaking, remarkably intense, dark story of survivor girl who accomplished to escape from House of Horrors! Yes, he storyline already hooked me from the first chapter! Get ready to read something shake you so hard! Your emotions will be everywhere as you witness the six children’s provocative, disturbing, extremely sad abuse, neglect story! This is one of the effective books will haunt you down and leave a permanent scar at your soul! I have to admit this is not gripping mystery book. It’s a Breathtaking, remarkably intense, dark story of survivor girl who accomplished to escape from House of Horrors! Yes, he storyline already hooked me from the first chapter! Get ready to read something shake you so hard! Your emotions will be everywhere as you witness the six children’s provocative, disturbing, extremely sad abuse, neglect story! This is one of the effective books will haunt you down and leave a permanent scar at your soul! I have to admit this is not gripping mystery book. It’s about soul crushing survival story and aftermaths of traumatic experiences. Those children have to face their pasts to heal their wounds, having a proper future ahead of them. But of course it will be something more profound, compelling and challenging struggle they have been expecting. So I can define this book as a family drama/ a psychological, realistic fiction, a brave survival and complex settlement with the traumatic past story with well crafted, deeply layered characterization. It’s pure, realistic, harsh, blood freezing, bleak and heartbreaking. Lex Gracie is a fighter who finally escaped from her abusing family life, nicknames as Girl A, whose monstrous mom died in prison and left her children that creepy place she never wants to return back and twenty thousand pounds. Now she and her sister Evie try to gather their four siblings to go back to house for the last time as a good will gesture which eventually bring out the ugly flashbacks of their past hit their faces harsher than they imagine. I mostly keen on thrillers more than psychological fiction but it was still intriguing and heart wrenching novel which is beautifully written. So I’m giving my well earned four, effective, poignant, shaking you to core stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and PENGUIN GROUP Viking for sharing incredible arc with me in exchange for my honest opinions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    Alexandra Gracie is Girl A, now a successful New York based lawyer at the age of 15 she escaped the ‘House of Horrors’ in England where she and her siblings suffered neglect and abuse. This is an extremely well written multilayered debut which via Lexi’s narrative examines how characters survive childhood trauma in varying ways. It is absorbing and compelling reading and although it demonstrates the horrifying events of the children’s childhood at the hands of their parents it is never gratuitou Alexandra Gracie is Girl A, now a successful New York based lawyer at the age of 15 she escaped the ‘House of Horrors’ in England where she and her siblings suffered neglect and abuse. This is an extremely well written multilayered debut which via Lexi’s narrative examines how characters survive childhood trauma in varying ways. It is absorbing and compelling reading and although it demonstrates the horrifying events of the children’s childhood at the hands of their parents it is never gratuitous or over detailed. It is obviously very bleak in places and heartbreaking at times but it is also profoundly moving as you appreciate how, despite outward appearances most of the siblings are psychologically damaged. It flows well from the past to the present and at no point did it feel to be disjointed. Lexi makes a fascinating and thoughtful narrator of the story, you feel her many different, powerful emotions, understand the protective walls she constructs and how this will collapse like a house of cards at times of stress such as she faces in the present day. Overall, this is a very absorbing and powerful character study and a riveting story of resilience and survival and one I will not forget in a hurry. Highly recommended. With thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for the much appreciated arc for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Tl;dr: Girl A isn't an easy read, but it's one you absolutely should read. Yes, even now. Girl A is an unflinching look at the long term effects of child abuse and it's an intense and well-written novel. I've seen some comparisons of Girl A to Room but Girl A is much darker and less sentimental about family as Girl A dives deep into what it would be like to be an abused sibling from a house full of other abused siblings. I think it's very easy to assume that when a sibling group in an abusive situa Tl;dr: Girl A isn't an easy read, but it's one you absolutely should read. Yes, even now. Girl A is an unflinching look at the long term effects of child abuse and it's an intense and well-written novel. I've seen some comparisons of Girl A to Room but Girl A is much darker and less sentimental about family as Girl A dives deep into what it would be like to be an abused sibling from a house full of other abused siblings. I think it's very easy to assume that when a sibling group in an abusive situation is rescued, the result will be siblings who tried to protect each other and thought as a unit and will be bonded forever to protect each other. It's a nice way to conclude something terrible and makes us feel better about how awful family can be. And there's the rub. Are siblings who grow up together with each fighting to survive, really all going to be close? Sibling dynamics are never sunshine and roses in any family and throw in the abuse in Girl A, in which children are subjected to horrific psychological and physical abuse, and the relationships get very murky indeed. Girl A, Lex, has come to England, where she was "raised," as she's been appointed the executor of tbeir mother's estate following her death in prison. As Lex goes to see each sibling--Ethan, Delilah, Gabriel, Noah, and Evie--readers slowly come to realize that all of them are still suffering from what they lived through, but each of their relationships with Lex and among each other are either close in various unhealthy ways, and/or that as they were growing up, some of them suffered at the hands of each other and not just their parents.. I did not see the big twist coming even as it had become clear to me over the course of Girl A that Lex, the Girl A of the title, and the eldest girl of the seven abused siblings, who has grown into a savvy, smart, and successful woman, has some very strong and unaddressed issues with her siblings (and they with her*) as well as some even stronger and equally unaddressed issues with herself. And when the twist did come it made me realize that when we construct narratives of happily ever after for well publicized abuse victims (or any abuse victims) we do it out of a desire for happily ever after. But the reality is that happily ever after is impossible and any long-term abuse survivor is always, always going to carry what they lived through. And when you've lived under a system of extreme physical and psychological torture, what you carry is so large and heavy. In other words, the deeper the wound, the bigger the scar (and scar tissue). Is Girl A an easy read? No. But it's the rawest and most unflinching look at being an abuse survivor I've read in a long time as well as a honest and scathing examination of all the ways we, as a society, turn away from what we don't want to see, that instead of doing something or even just asking someone if they need help, we pretend away. (The whole "he/she/they were totally normal...well, except for X, Y, and/or Z" that always comes out when the neighbors of a horror are interviewed) Girl A is a novel I'll never forget and am glad I read. It reminded me that the worst things I can do is also one of the easiest--to look away. Girl A is a powerful and gripping reminder of why I (and you) shouldn't do that. An absolute must read. *I can't be the only person who finished this and thought about how much damage Ethan will end up inflicting on his family. Father, indeed. (Shudders)

  5. 4 out of 5

    jaime ⭐️

    ➽ 2021 reads: book 10/75 DNF'd at page 1oo. this was just way too convoluted and i couldn't connect to the story at all. note to the author: if we're going to jump timelines (which is one of my all time favourite storytelling techniques) can we possibly not do that literally every other paragraph? i'm exhausted. hoping to pick this up again at a later date but not right now! i'm tired! advanced readers copy kindly sent to me by harper collins new zealand youtube ❀ twitter ❀ instagram ➽ 2021 reads: book 10/75 DNF'd at page 1oo. this was just way too convoluted and i couldn't connect to the story at all. note to the author: if we're going to jump timelines (which is one of my all time favourite storytelling techniques) can we possibly not do that literally every other paragraph? i'm exhausted. hoping to pick this up again at a later date but not right now! i'm tired! advanced readers copy kindly sent to me by harper collins new zealand youtube ❀ twitter ❀ instagram

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lexi

    Anyway, let's bring in a large cast of characters with complicated relationships, speak vaguely about literally every god damn thing, and not explain what's going on or bother introducing the characters at all. This writing style drove me crazy. Anyway, let's bring in a large cast of characters with complicated relationships, speak vaguely about literally every god damn thing, and not explain what's going on or bother introducing the characters at all. This writing style drove me crazy.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Lex and her siblings grew up in her parents house of horrors, she managed to escape and was known as “Child A the girl who survived” When Lex’s mother dies in prison, she is asked to be the executor of her mother’s will, as she has left her their childhood home and £20,000 to be shared between her siblings. Along with her sister Evie’s help, she wants to turn the house into something good but will need to get her other siblings to agree. Lex has to face the childhood that she had left behind and Lex and her siblings grew up in her parents house of horrors, she managed to escape and was known as “Child A the girl who survived” When Lex’s mother dies in prison, she is asked to be the executor of her mother’s will, as she has left her their childhood home and £20,000 to be shared between her siblings. Along with her sister Evie’s help, she wants to turn the house into something good but will need to get her other siblings to agree. Lex has to face the childhood that she had left behind and meet up with her family, bringing all the bad memories back. The book goes back to when they were children and how they were badly treated by their parents. I must admit to crying, as this felt so real and you do read about cases like this in the newspapers!! This had me gripped from the start, you can’t help but be drawn in with this beautifully written story about survival against all odds. This is going to be a must read book of 2021. Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Lex, Girl A, is the survivor and savior of her siblings from their parents’ home where they were starved and incarcerated. We’ve all read accounts of these horrifying houses but what happens to these kids afterwards? And, how does something so shockingly abusive affect them as adults given that each child was clinically treated differently and raised in different homes? These questions are answered as Lex confronts her siblings with a plan to convert their inherited family home into a community Lex, Girl A, is the survivor and savior of her siblings from their parents’ home where they were starved and incarcerated. We’ve all read accounts of these horrifying houses but what happens to these kids afterwards? And, how does something so shockingly abusive affect them as adults given that each child was clinically treated differently and raised in different homes? These questions are answered as Lex confronts her siblings with a plan to convert their inherited family home into a community center. The characters are layered, nuanced and conflicted. A sure-fire bestseller.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Allison Krulik

    I ALMOST did not finish this book due to boredom and jumping around the timeline mid-chapter...but I am glad I didn't because the second half of the book was really good. It is about a group of siblings who grew up tortured and abused. They are then separated into different adoptive families once the truth comes out about their biological mom/dad. We learn about each of the siblings, now grown, and how they have come along. They meet (most of them) again at the end to discuss some financial matt I ALMOST did not finish this book due to boredom and jumping around the timeline mid-chapter...but I am glad I didn't because the second half of the book was really good. It is about a group of siblings who grew up tortured and abused. They are then separated into different adoptive families once the truth comes out about their biological mom/dad. We learn about each of the siblings, now grown, and how they have come along. They meet (most of them) again at the end to discuss some financial matters regarding their childhood home. I gave 3 out of 5 stars because the first half was rather boring to me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White (mandylovestoread)

    Girl A is another much hyped book and I was interested see how it would play out. It is a heartbreaking and disturbing read, focusing on a tough subject so it was never going to be hearts and flowers. It was a hard read at times but one that I am glad I have read. This is the story of Girl A. Her real name is Lex and she survived the House of Horrors. She managed to escape from her parents and was separated from her siblings. Now she must reconnect with them in order to execute her mother’s will. Girl A is another much hyped book and I was interested see how it would play out. It is a heartbreaking and disturbing read, focusing on a tough subject so it was never going to be hearts and flowers. It was a hard read at times but one that I am glad I have read. This is the story of Girl A. Her real name is Lex and she survived the House of Horrors. She managed to escape from her parents and was separated from her siblings. Now she must reconnect with them in order to execute her mother’s will. She dies in prison and leave the kids a house and money. We hear the story, past and present through her travels to find her brothers and sisters. Not easy to read about how the kids were treated and how they survived it. Thanks to Harper Collins UK and Netgalley for my advanced copy of this book to read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Girl A is beautifully written and has a fascinating central theme, as such it is likely to do very well and rightly so. However I maybe wasnt as enamoured of it as a few advance readers who have come before me....subjectively speaking I enjoyed it without ever tipping over into the kind of bookish obsession that grips me. The characters are well drawn and compelling for sure - the exploration of survival and resettlement after trauma is well done. After the first third though I didn't feel it offe Girl A is beautifully written and has a fascinating central theme, as such it is likely to do very well and rightly so. However I maybe wasnt as enamoured of it as a few advance readers who have come before me....subjectively speaking I enjoyed it without ever tipping over into the kind of bookish obsession that grips me. The characters are well drawn and compelling for sure - the exploration of survival and resettlement after trauma is well done. After the first third though I didn't feel it offered much in the way of tension or likelihood of anything unexpected happening, I finished it to see where the characters ended up in a kind of half interested way. This is character study more than anything else and a passionately thought out one too. For whatever reason though it just never really took off for this reader. Still recommended though...its one of those novels that has genuinely talented writing and plotting so is worth a read for that reason - the rest is entirely in the eyes of the beholder.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dash fan

    Unfortunately DNF this one tried really hard to read it. It was nothing to do with the subject matter, more to do with the style and how it went from past to present with no warning. Very confusing, just wasn't for me. Unfortunately DNF this one tried really hard to read it. It was nothing to do with the subject matter, more to do with the style and how it went from past to present with no warning. Very confusing, just wasn't for me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    It feels a little bit strange to call Girl A beautiful, even though it is, because on the surface this is very much still a book about a family that went the worst kind of wrong. The way Abigail Dean writes it though, it's much more than that. I read this after reading an interview with the author, where she talked about her inspiration - "I saw the power of teenage girls to escape and be incredibly strong", she mentioned, after referencing the real world cases that factored in to the writing of It feels a little bit strange to call Girl A beautiful, even though it is, because on the surface this is very much still a book about a family that went the worst kind of wrong. The way Abigail Dean writes it though, it's much more than that. I read this after reading an interview with the author, where she talked about her inspiration - "I saw the power of teenage girls to escape and be incredibly strong", she mentioned, after referencing the real world cases that factored in to the writing of this story. I love the way she put that - and it's an attitude that carries through to this book. This is not a story that will drive you into reading with the need to find out what happens - from the first page the reader is allowed to know what happened, and that Lex - Girl A - our narrator, has come through to the other side. No, this is your classic case of journey mattering over destination - we follow Lex throughout, be it past or present, and she just tells her story. I loved this book, despite how absolutely sad it could be. There's a real balance to it, and any heroics are the everyday kind, small acts that nevertheless speak volumes. Most of the detail about the worst moments are kept off the page, or told without detail - not necessarily to spare the reader, but because those details aren't the point. Abigail Dean has done an amazing job of walking a tightrope over a pit of crocs, here - this is the kind of book that requires some expert handling. For a debut author, it's even more impressive -I'm very excited to read what she does next.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sally Hepworth

    LOVED. This will be a slam-dunk, sure fire bestseller.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lu Etchells

    Lex Gracie is the girl who finally managed to escape her family’s house of horrors, raise the alarm and end the torture for her siblings. The story unfolds through Lex’s eyes, as she returns to London, from New York, to deal with her now dead mother’s estate and all the old wounds that particular issue re-opens. This is an interesting premise for a book; however, it really left me feeling cold. I didn’t connect with Lex on any level; I just couldn’t warm to her, and even found it hard to have any Lex Gracie is the girl who finally managed to escape her family’s house of horrors, raise the alarm and end the torture for her siblings. The story unfolds through Lex’s eyes, as she returns to London, from New York, to deal with her now dead mother’s estate and all the old wounds that particular issue re-opens. This is an interesting premise for a book; however, it really left me feeling cold. I didn’t connect with Lex on any level; I just couldn’t warm to her, and even found it hard to have any degree of sympathy. Which, given the subject matter, is quite an unusual statement to make. The same is true of her siblings, who just didn’t ever become real to me for some reason. Everything felt really detached. For me, I think the problem was that in an attempt to be sympathetic of the various potential triggers within the book (and there are many), the author has overlooked a lot of the emotion. At times this felt more like a character study, a psychologist’s ramblings, rather than a work of entertaining/gripping fiction. I appreciate the opportunity to have an advanced copy of this work; however, I think the need for further editing had an increased impact on my enjoyment. There are many occasions where Lex is talking about the past, and seamlessly, in the next sentence, slips in to the present. It takes a couple of minutes, and some re-reading of previous lines, to work out where the shift changes, and re-orientate yourself in the story. This was exceptionally frustrating, and I hope the team resolve these issues before it is published. I was going to give this a three star initially; however, I’m going to have to go with a two. For whatever reason, this just didn’t work for me. I wasn’t remotely interested in the characters, and read on out of blind commitment than any real interest. For me, I’m left wondering what the point was. I don’t know where the real crux of the story was – the past, or the present? What challenges were really overcome? It just felt like a long ramble in to nothingness and I was ultimately left quite disappointed. As many others seem to love it, I’m clearly just missing something.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roma

    A heartbreaking psychological drama revolving around six siblings who suffered through a childhood of abuse at the hands of their parents and now, 15 years later are still struggling to come to terms with it. It's told from the point of view of Girl A (Lex), the one who escaped and brought an end to the house of horrors. Lex is around 30 and a successful lawyer based in New York. The story starts when her mother dies in prison, leaving her children their childhood home where they were abused and A heartbreaking psychological drama revolving around six siblings who suffered through a childhood of abuse at the hands of their parents and now, 15 years later are still struggling to come to terms with it. It's told from the point of view of Girl A (Lex), the one who escaped and brought an end to the house of horrors. Lex is around 30 and a successful lawyer based in New York. The story starts when her mother dies in prison, leaving her children their childhood home where they were abused and a sum of 20,000 pounds. Lex is named executor of the will. She, along with her favourite sister Evie, come up with an idea to turn the house into a community centre of sorts, a positive place to wash away all the horror. To do so she needs her other siblings' signatures. Thus begins her journey, both emotional and physical, of reconnecting with her family. Each chapter is named after one of the siblings. The story alternates with present-day Lex meeting with her siblings, and her childhood memories of growing up in an abusive household. Each sibling has dealt differently with the trauma and have very diverse characters. This is a beautifully written novel that examines various reactions to trauma and abuse. A story of survival and the struggle that entails. A harrowing portrait of a broken family and sibling dynamics. Abigail Dean expertly portrayed very realistic characters. Not once did they feel 'made-up' to me or acting out of character. This is the essence of her novel. It's how the reader gets drawn in and stays emotionally involved throughout. I had tears in my eyes at various parts and was shaken to my core when I read the abuse scenes (though she was brilliant at keeping the balance between describing what was necessary for the story and not adding gratuitous scenes). A fantastic debut novel. My biggest complaint has nothing to do with the story or writing, it's actually about the cover art for the English edition of the book. I find it misleading because it makes the book look like a thriller of sorts, which it is not. Based on this cover alone I probably would not have even picked it up. I find the American editions' cover to be more suited to the story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    I loved this beautifully crafted debut novel. I think it’s been mis-marketed as a thriller, but it’s a character-driven psychological drama about the survivors of an abusive “House of Horrors.” The story appears to be loosely based on the 2018 Turpin family saga, in which the parents chained, starved and abused their children until their 17 year old daughter was able to escape and summon help. This book follows a very similar story arc, right down to the siblings on holiday in identical red tee s I loved this beautifully crafted debut novel. I think it’s been mis-marketed as a thriller, but it’s a character-driven psychological drama about the survivors of an abusive “House of Horrors.” The story appears to be loosely based on the 2018 Turpin family saga, in which the parents chained, starved and abused their children until their 17 year old daughter was able to escape and summon help. This book follows a very similar story arc, right down to the siblings on holiday in identical red tee shirts. It is narrated by “Girl A,” the daughter who escaped. Lex is an adult now, forced to face down her past when her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex the executor of her estate - a decent sum of cash and the decrepit house where Lex and her siblings lived in filth and squalor. As executor, Lex needs to contact her estranged brothers and sisters and obtain their agreement on how to handle the proceeds of the estate. The story is a slow reveal, and jumps in time between the past and present. The book is divided into sections that focus on each of the siblings as perceived by Lex. I thought this set-up worked very well, both as a look at family dynamics but also as a view into Lex’s damaged psyche. I’ve read quite a few reviews that said they couldn’t relate to or warm up to Lex’s character. Lex is cynical, defensive and uses deflection to hide her pain. She is scarred and flawed, imperfect and totally human. A survivor - and I loved her. Recommended to those who appreciate character driven novels. It is beautifully written, with sharp and perceptive observations of human nature. The only distraction for me was the frequent jumping between past and present without any warning or preparation. It can be jarring until you get used to it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    Thank you to NetGalley and Viking Penguin Books for the ARC of Girl A by Abigail Dean. I had the good fortune of participating in a Zoom interview with the author and publisher before reading this book. Lex is Girl A, a survivor of the House of Horrors. When her mother dies in prison, she and her siblings inherit the family home. Consequently, she is forced to come to terms with what happened to herself and her siblings in that house long ago. She vows to turn the house into a community center i Thank you to NetGalley and Viking Penguin Books for the ARC of Girl A by Abigail Dean. I had the good fortune of participating in a Zoom interview with the author and publisher before reading this book. Lex is Girl A, a survivor of the House of Horrors. When her mother dies in prison, she and her siblings inherit the family home. Consequently, she is forced to come to terms with what happened to herself and her siblings in that house long ago. She vows to turn the house into a community center in order to help other troubled youth, as she wants it to become a symbol of hope instead of despair. Lex embarks on a journey to collect her siblings’ blessings and signatures to legally make her idea come true. In the process, she rediscovers her past as well as long lost family. What really happened in the House of Horrors all those years ago? This story greatly resembles that of the Turpin family, the Californians who graced the headlines in 2018 for their own House of Horrors. In her interview, Dean did not make mention of this story as inspiration for her own writing, but the similarities are obvious. That being said, Dean does a fantastic job of depicting the psychological torment and abuse in the fictional Gracie household. She thoroughly explores the the complex and complicated relationships between the siblings and parents, as well as the trauma suffered in the aftermath. It took me a while to really get into this book, as it was very difficult to follow the constantly shifting perspectives and timelines within a single chapter. Breaking up the very long chapters could have improved the flow of the story. However, I found myself fully invested in Lex’s story and tearing up at the end, which is always a sign of a well-written book. This is a very disturbing story that will stay with me for a long time. 4/5 stars

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa of Troy

    Solid 4-star book. Girl A was the one that got away. After years of abuse, Girl A escapes the House of Horror where she and her siblings were held. Dad didn't make it out alive, and Mum went to prison. Now, Mum has passed, and Girl A (also known as Lex) discovers that she is the executor of the will and The House of Horrors is part of the estate. Lex meets each of her siblings as she prepares the final fate of The House with flashback to their time in captivity. A captivity story usually ends with Solid 4-star book. Girl A was the one that got away. After years of abuse, Girl A escapes the House of Horror where she and her siblings were held. Dad didn't make it out alive, and Mum went to prison. Now, Mum has passed, and Girl A (also known as Lex) discovers that she is the executor of the will and The House of Horrors is part of the estate. Lex meets each of her siblings as she prepares the final fate of The House with flashback to their time in captivity. A captivity story usually ends with some serious action because the captivity usually ends in one form or another so you hold on trying to see how it all ends. This book however flips that old script on its head because it starts with the escape. With that being the case, the book had a very strong opening but had a much slower second half.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Basic B's Guide

    When this showed up on my doorstep I jumped for joy. What an awesome surprise from the publisher. This sounded right up my alley. Perhaps I went in with too high of expectations but it just did not work for me. I struggled to finish this book and almost dnf’d a few times. I set it down for a few days about midway through and that did help to make the last 150 pages less of a struggle. Chapters are very long with timeframes shifting by paragraph. This often threw me off and also made the pacing see When this showed up on my doorstep I jumped for joy. What an awesome surprise from the publisher. This sounded right up my alley. Perhaps I went in with too high of expectations but it just did not work for me. I struggled to finish this book and almost dnf’d a few times. I set it down for a few days about midway through and that did help to make the last 150 pages less of a struggle. Chapters are very long with timeframes shifting by paragraph. This often threw me off and also made the pacing seem very slow and disjointed. Characters felt very surface level. I wanted more from each of them. More of their experience in the house and perhaps maybe even some motivations behind the parents. This is such a sad story with a revelation at the end but I’m not sure it made up for everything else.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gumble's Yard

    This is a taut psychological thriller – which I listened to in Audiobook, an Audiobook which is brilliantly narrated by the (unknown to me) actress Holly Grainger – who I think perfectly captures the defensive shield of cynicism that the first person narrator hides behind – a shield designed as much to fend off her inner demons as the outside world, but which is much more effective with the latter than the former. The story is (or I think will be – this book is already topping various national be This is a taut psychological thriller – which I listened to in Audiobook, an Audiobook which is brilliantly narrated by the (unknown to me) actress Holly Grainger – who I think perfectly captures the defensive shield of cynicism that the first person narrator hides behind – a shield designed as much to fend off her inner demons as the outside world, but which is much more effective with the latter than the former. The story is (or I think will be – this book is already topping various national bestseller charts) well known – appropriate for a book which is fundamentally about what it is like in the years after you are a victim of notoriety. Lex Gracie was once better known as Girl A, and the “girl who escaped” from the “House of Horrors” – one of a group of siblings subject to an increasingly horrendous regime of deprivation and incarceration in their family home (a case modelled loosely on the real life case of David and Louise Turpin). Chained in her bedroom with her increasingly weak younger but beloved younger sister Evie, it was Lex who in desperation slipped her chains and dragged her battered and bruised body into the street to call for help. When the police raided the house – her father had committed suicide leaving her mother to face trial and she and her siblings months of medical assistance, on-going psychological help and eventual placement with foster families (Lex as the oldest girl being the last to find a place – eventually adopted by a childless policeman who worked closely with her psychologist on her case). But all of this is story background – and the basics of the past set up and the children’s ultimate escape is deliberately established early on – this is very much a book about “what happened afterwards”. Now, years later Lex, a successful and driven US technology M&A lawyer based in New York – is called back to her mother’s prison to told she is executor of her will – some small savings and the derelict house of horrors itself. With her sister Evie (the only one with which she had and still has good relations) they decide to propose to the local council that it is turned into a community centre with activities that would have been the antithesis of their parents’ regime. But she needs her siblings permission – and the lengthy chapters of the book are each named and loosely structured around one of the siblings, each of whom has been affected by and has dealt with their ordeal and identity in different ways, each with their own memory of what happened, and each of which of course we only see filtered through Lex and her own version of the past. Delilah - beautiful and manipulative – still in some ways loyal to her parents religious aims for the family, if not their methods. Gabriel – close to Delilah as a child, his adoptive parents encouraged him to use his trauma for TV appearances and celebrity meetings. He suffered from murderous rages and at secondary school realises he can use these rages as part of a gang (starting with disrupting an unwelcome exam) – later he falls in with a theatrical agent (at his parents suggestion) who is a participant into his descent into addiction-seeking behaviour. Noah – only a baby at the time of escape and unaware to this day of his true identity. Ethan – whose role in the family imprisonment – was at best ambiguous. Now a successful headmaster he has made a career of article writing and lecture giving on how education can overcome childhood trauma (with himself as Exhibit A). Evie – the closest to Lex, still trying to work out how her life story should play out. I was impressed with the style of the book. It jumps around between time periods (the time in the house, the present day and episodes in the middle) and between points of view. At least on the audio-narration I had the impression of rather abrupt switches: this is a book that requires some attention and is all the better for it. I also felt that the accounts of other characters – the siblings, her birth parents, her adopted parents - being told by Lex in her first party narration as part of stories she had gathered about them over time (rather than truly written from their viewpoint) – but I would be interested to see if the book gives the same idea. I was also, as I listened, impressed with the author’s use of language – particularly similes and metaphors and the way in which she captured both the spoken and unspoken parts of conversations. Normally when reading a book and struck by some writing I would pause and highlight it (on a Kindle) or take a photo (of a print book) – but because I was listening this while walking my dog I was not able to do so (it was more paws than pause), so I cannot easily give examples but I would say that the writing I admired applied more to odd phrases and sentences than whole paragraphs (as the book is deliberately in Lex’s rather world-weary style). If I had an issue with the book it is I think the question of why write about such a topic, or perhaps more accurately, why invent a set up like this (which can hardly be seen as a common occurrence that needs artistic exploration) and then proceed to write about it – a book about how to live in the aftermath of family trauma and what amount of hope and ultimate redemption is possible is an important one but could have been written without picking such an extreme form. But overall I can understand the hype and can recommend the audiobook. My thanks to Harper Collins Audio for an Audiobook ARC via NetGalley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Janelle

    This is an intense read. I found it very hard to put down, almost turning the page before I’d got to the bottom of it. It’s a “house of horrors” story but more the aftermath and how do the survivors go on in life after all that trauma they’ve been through. Girl A is Alexandra Gracie, known as Lex, the girl who escaped. The book opens 15 years later and Lex is a lawyer in New York returning to England after the death of her mother. The novel goes backwards and forwards in time, retelling the even This is an intense read. I found it very hard to put down, almost turning the page before I’d got to the bottom of it. It’s a “house of horrors” story but more the aftermath and how do the survivors go on in life after all that trauma they’ve been through. Girl A is Alexandra Gracie, known as Lex, the girl who escaped. The book opens 15 years later and Lex is a lawyer in New York returning to England after the death of her mother. The novel goes backwards and forwards in time, retelling the events of her and her family’s lives. Some of it is not an easy read but the author doesn’t heavily detail the worst of it but it’s still horrific enough, so not a book for the faint hearted. I think the most frightening quote was towards the end of the book. Lex and her sister Delilah had been talking to another wedding guest. “That man,” she said, “at dinner. Who did he remind you of?”..... “Father,” I said. “That’s the thing, you see,” she said. “The world's full of them.”

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa Menezes

    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. 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 six siblings – and with the child 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. 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 six siblings – and with the childhood they shared. Wow! What an intense read! This is a powerful and heart wrenching story of the childhood abuse and trauma experienced by Lex and her siblings. The entire book is so well written. As we read on, we are introduced to each of the siblings and presented with how the past horrors and events have shaped their present, each of these instances are described so realistically. The choice of Lex as the main narrator is amazing as it makes the entire journey even more emotional and powerful. Even though it is a dark and disturbing read, I was engaged right till the end and I loved it. Highly Recommended! Thank You NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for this ARC!

  24. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    I don't want to say the BOTM picks are up, but... I don't want to say the BOTM picks are up, but...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    A very dark, upsetting novel of a young girl and the horrific abuse that she and her siblings suffered at the hands of their parents. The book is exceptionally well-written and does not feel exploitive in the least but it is not meant for everyone. The author writes of the damaging loss of trust between the sisters and brothers and how each of them survived in their own way. The outsiders involved with the family can't comprehend what is really going on with the children and the young girl is fo A very dark, upsetting novel of a young girl and the horrific abuse that she and her siblings suffered at the hands of their parents. The book is exceptionally well-written and does not feel exploitive in the least but it is not meant for everyone. The author writes of the damaging loss of trust between the sisters and brothers and how each of them survived in their own way. The outsiders involved with the family can't comprehend what is really going on with the children and the young girl is forced to escape on her own. She alerts the neighbors and police resulting in the rest of the family being rescued. The book follows her and her siblings growing up, damaged but still clinging to hope and life where they can find it. Four stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    *** Trigger Warning *** There's some Sexual, Emotional and Physical Abuse covered in this story. Lex Gracie doesn't want to think about her family. She doesn't want to think about growing up in hr parents' House of Horrors. She doesn't want to think of her identy as Girl A: the girl who escaped when her mother died in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can't run from her past any longer. Toghther with her sister Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force *** Trigger Warning *** There's some Sexual, Emotional and Physical Abuse covered in this story. Lex Gracie doesn't want to think about her family. She doesn't want to think about growing up in hr parents' House of Horrors. She doesn't want to think of her identy as Girl A: the girl who escaped when her mother died in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can't run from her past any longer. Toghther with her sister Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. A family of seven are neglected and tied up. But one of them manages to escape and raise the alarm. The story is told in the past, when the children were little and the present day, where they are adults. The chldren were adopted by several families. Now the mother has died, the siblings get together to sort out her will and decide what to do with the house. I did find the ending a little disappointing plus the pace was slow in places. I would like to thank #NetGalley, #HarperCollinsUK #HarperFiction and the author #AbigailDean for my ARC in exchangefor an honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Sorry I didn’t get this book at all and also don’t understand the high reviews it’s received. It’s a desperately sad theme of an abused family who escaped their fate, and their lives afterwards. Described akin to Room etc so I had high hopes. But meandering, going nowhere, and at times unnecessary vile language. I’m no prude, but this made me feel ill at times. I just wasn’t interested in finding out what happened. It all killed it for me and I did not finish it. It was quite the worst book I ha Sorry I didn’t get this book at all and also don’t understand the high reviews it’s received. It’s a desperately sad theme of an abused family who escaped their fate, and their lives afterwards. Described akin to Room etc so I had high hopes. But meandering, going nowhere, and at times unnecessary vile language. I’m no prude, but this made me feel ill at times. I just wasn’t interested in finding out what happened. It all killed it for me and I did not finish it. It was quite the worst book I have read for a while. Thank you though to the publisher and Netgalley for my ARC in exchange for my honest review. But sorry again!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Authentikate

    Sometimes you just want an apple... It’s a difficult position as a reader and reviewer to be forced to parse a book, separate the book itself —as it lands in my hands and hits my eyes, rolls around my brain—from the promotion, hype and marketing plan. That said, I will try. As a thriller, as this book was marketed, it gets ONE STAR. That is to say, it wasn’t thrilling in the slightest and the intrigue was bland to the point of non-existence. The only pay off came at the very end and it was such a Sometimes you just want an apple... It’s a difficult position as a reader and reviewer to be forced to parse a book, separate the book itself —as it lands in my hands and hits my eyes, rolls around my brain—from the promotion, hype and marketing plan. That said, I will try. As a thriller, as this book was marketed, it gets ONE STAR. That is to say, it wasn’t thrilling in the slightest and the intrigue was bland to the point of non-existence. The only pay off came at the very end and it was such a sad little twist that it barely registered. The book was slow-paced and convoluted and I kept turning the pages to see if something (anything) would happen. The chapters were overlong and often included headers that failed to deliver as promised. Not a “thrilling” setup. (Pursed lips). I get it. I fell for the hype. The “book of a generation!” and you know, those words to an avid reader mean something. As stated, as *marketed* it fell flat. Thwack! Now, had this novel been marketed more HONESTLY as a character yarn involving family abuse and trauma, I could have adjusted my expectations and rated it higher. Here, the pacing issues would have seemed more appropriate as yarn spools unwind slowly; it’s expected. The convoluted flashbacks could have been edited to grate less too. (I had to reread passages to orient myself in space and time within this novel a handful of times). The topic is deeply sad, depressing, yet poignant in places and the author handled it carefully (for the most part). As a character yarn, marketed as such, I could see giving this 3.5-4 stars. But, as an avid consumer of books I HATE BEING LIED to. Manipulated. When I have a taste for apples and you tell me enthusiastically you have the BEST tasting apples (best in a generation) and then slip me a damn pear, I’m going to feel manipulated. It may be a really good tasting pear. You may have quite a talent at cultivating pears, in fact. And...if I ever wanted a pear, yours may be my pear of choice. But no matter how you “slice it” IT ISN’T THE APPLE you promised/marketed. It just isn’t. The hype isn’t real y’all. Buyer beware.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brittney Rae

    Can someone please tell me what happened? Very few things were clear but everything was depressing. This is not a thriller. 2.5

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jo Spain

    I couldn't put this book down. A sensitively written portrayal of a traumatic subject. My only gripe; it's being marketed as a thriller/crime fiction and that's a stretch. It does have a twist or two, but it's more a drama than crime novel and I was a little disappointed when I realised whatever I was waiting for to happen, would not be happening. That took away from it slightly but through no fault of the author or the book. Highly recommended read. I couldn't put this book down. A sensitively written portrayal of a traumatic subject. My only gripe; it's being marketed as a thriller/crime fiction and that's a stretch. It does have a twist or two, but it's more a drama than crime novel and I was a little disappointed when I realised whatever I was waiting for to happen, would not be happening. That took away from it slightly but through no fault of the author or the book. Highly recommended read.

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