I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is January 16, 2016.
After a brutal rape and near-murder, Valerie wants to get past feelings of victimhood from both the assault and her history of being bullied. Not knowing the identity of her masked rapist and dealing with the nasty rumors about that night are two things that plague her daily. Valerie will have to follow ghostly entities, past victims of the rapist-murderer, contacting her through a social media site. Why do all of their eerie photos have 52 likes under them? Their messages are leading her to the mystery man, although he'll put up a fight to remain hidden.
This book could have been handled so much better. It was an intriguing story about a girl who is violently raped and then has to deal with the fact that she has no idea who her attacker is. The problem, I think, was the writing style. It was just bad. I got the impression that the author didn't really know where to put the focus - Valerie's recovery of her trauma or solving the mystery of who did it. Valerie would be trying to figure out the mystery and then, all of a sudden, Valerie would interject some PTSD symptom that she was experiencing because of her rape. The problem was that the author just stated the symptoms, almost as if she were reciting a list of PTSD symptoms off a website. The author didn't really show the symptoms and she didn't do a great job of building the atmosphere for the scenes. Because of that, it was really hard for me to connect with Valerie. Honestly, since this book was only 172 pages, I felt like the author couldn't give Valerie's character development and her recovery nearly enough attention. The book should have been longer. When Valerie talked about how she wasn't sure if she would ever have sex again or have kids, that statement rang very hollow. I am not saying that victims don't feel this way. I know they do. The problem is that Valerie made this statement less than twenty-four hours after her rape. Her attacker was still loose and her bruises had not even healed. It just didn't seem like the sort of thing that Valerie would be thinking about right at that moment. I guess that's why it seemed like the author was just checking symptoms off a checklist in her head, as opposed to considering what her character would actually think and say.
There was also a paranormal element to this story that didn't fit and I wasn't even aware would be part of the story. It was just weird. Maybe the author did that because it helped to move the story about Valerie's attacker along. I don't know, but I felt that could have been handled better. The mystery of Valerie's attacker was a bit predictable. The ending was also a bit too neat and I felt like Valerie herself made comments about rape victims and how they chose to handle their trauma. At one point, Valerie congratulated herself for not being a weepy mess after the rape. Well . . . that's great for her, but rape victims who are "weepy messes" aren't less than those who aren't.
The bottom line is that I feel the book was too short to give her rape and her feelings about her attacker the attention that they deserved.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.