Live Through This by Mindi Scott | Book Review

Live Through This by Mindi ScottBook Title/Author: Live Through This by Mindi Scott
: Simon Pulse 2012
Genre: Contemporary YA
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Freefall

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I purchased this book with my own cash money.





On the outside Coley looks like a normal teenager — she’s got friends, is on the dance team, works hard in school and has a nice family. She’s got the typical teenage dramas — fights with friends, trying to be the best so she can earn the captain spot next year and, of course, navigating the boy scene. But nobody knows the secrets Coley keeps — secrets she buries down so deep she goes about her day pretending they don’t exist. When she starts getting closer with her crush, all of those secrets of the relationship that crossed the line come up full force making her feel the shame and guilt she’s tried to bury.

Wow. This is going to be a hard book to review because it’s not one of those books where I can be like “WOW…I really enjoyed that” because it was a TOUGH book to read and saying I enjoyed something like that seems rather awkward. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever felt more uncomfortable while reading a book…ever. Ok, maybe Lolita was more uncomfortable but you understand. And I don’t think that is a bad thing. It was a hard book to read and my heart broke knowing this happens so often and isn’t something that is talked about which is probably where my discomfort with some of the more confrontational scenes happened.

Live Through This starts out with a really, really intense scene. It’s the kind of WOW scene that smacks you in the face and demands that you pay attention — alerting you to the fact that this is going to be a very emotional and hard book to read with the sexual abuse occurring right off the bat. But then the brilliant part about this whole novel is how she tells the rest of the story from there. There is literally, for about half the book, NO mention about what happened. The whole time I was just reading, on the edge of my seat, just knowing that this abuse was lurking on the corner after that explosive first scene. I was nervous. On eggshells.  We really got to see Coley’s life and how she really was careful to be that normal girl with the normal life — trying to ignore those buried secrets. But, as the reader, you could just palpably feel that soon it was going to catch up with her.  By the time the abuse happens again it is intense and I just knew that I unfortunately figured out what was going on and it was very emotional and tense from that point until the very end.

I think what I really appreciated about Live Through This is that it wasn’t so concerned about tying things up in a neat little bow. So often in “issuey” books I find that the story happens, the main character realizes she needs help and then YAY RESOLUTION. ALL IS WELL. With this book, I know when I closed the pages that it would be an uphill battle for this character (you know, because I’m weird like that and think the characters live on when I’m done haha).   I actually found that having her try to stifle all of what she was going through and not even  feel clearly about what she wanted to do/feeling conflicted felt really realistic and made it all the more emotional to me.  I could feel how lost she was about it and I appreciated that, while the end was satisfying, it didn’t try to be  like ALL FIXED NOW.


Live Through This is really tough book to read, parts where I literally felt so uncomfortable, but I thought it was balanced well as we watched Coley try NOT to deal with the sexual abuse taking place and try to live a normal life like everyone  thinks she has. I think because of her keeping it at arms length I didn’t feel very emotional for most of the book except at some very explosive scenes that were really hard to read. It feels weird to say if I “enjoyed” this book but I do think if you don’t mind reading a book that tackles a tough topic this is a good one that definitely stuck with me because I just know this happens all too often. Live Through This was at times heartbreaking  and tough to read but it was worth it as it was well written and handles the topic sensitively.



Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, did you kind of guess WHO the person was? Did you think it tackled the subject well/comparatively to other books dealing with this topic?





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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. One question right away, do we have a happy ending of sorts? At least some hope to get better, you know something ? I hate leaving characters be in a state of despair, so I need a somehow goodie ending.

    Still, this sounds incredibly intense and I really want to read it. Just like you I find it hard to say that I do enjoy these kind of books, but how to phrase it differently.?

  2. Jen (A Reading Daydreamer) says:

    I actually just picked this one up from the library and after reading your review, I’m so excited to read it now! Every once in awhile I like reading a gritty contemporary with a character that goes through a realistic healing process, like Coley here. The fact that the entire is uncomfortable to read and sets you on edge just makes me curious! I’m stoked to pick it up now, thanks for the wonderful review, Jamie! (And it’s blurbed by Stephanie Perkins, of COURSE I’m picking it up!)

  3. This book sounds like it tackles this tough issue in a really harrowing way. It sounds emotional and uncomfortable and if you ask me, that is how books like this should be! I actually hadn’t heard of this before reading this review, but now I think that I’ll have to give it a shot!

  4. I just added this book to my every growing TBR list… I’m always interested in reading well written and captivating “issuey” books, and this one sounds like it will do the trick. I, like you, have not thought of a better sounding way to say that I “like” these kinds of books, but I do. There just isn’t a good way to put that. It’s good to hear that this book grabs you right from the beginning, what with the first scene being so intense. I’m looking forward to reading this one, and thanks for the great review of it! 🙂

  5. I saw you posting about this on Goodreads and was so intrigued I took it out of the library. I’m hoping it get to read it this weekend. I don’t want to say I’m excited about it, since, like you saying you really enjoyed it, that sounds kind of weird. But I am looking forward to reading a book that deals with a touch subject respectfully and realistically. Thanks for the recommendation!

  6. I’m so glad you like this one. I feel like Mindi is an underrated writer for sure. I just finished Freefall this week and I absolutely couldn’t get over how wonderful it was and how little she is spoken about. You’re right… there is nothing perfect about her stories and she doesn’t feel the need to tack on a happy ending. I like that about her. Plus, with Freefall, I was uber impressed with her male narrative.

  7. This definitely sounds like a tough read! I’m nervous about even attempting to read this, as I feel like it might become a traumatizing experience if I’m too sensitive to what’s going on. I’ve heard that it’s compelling though and that the writing is good, so there’s also that to consider. I’ll probably have to check it out eventually!

  8. Your review actually perfectly articulates what I disliked about this book, specifically, how the book starts with a bang and there’s no mention of the incident until about halfway through. While I waited for the subject to come back up again, I felt like I was being subjected to a lot of really boring details. I really disliked all of the dance team drama.

    And yes, I also imagine what a character’s life must be like once the final page has been turned. Great review!

  9. Books that you don’t enjoy-in a good way-are often so, so good. And I am so glad that this book doesn’t have a perfect, unrealistic solution because that never happens in real life. It’s totally normal to imagine characters’ lives going on (at least, I do) and you KNOW that they aren’t just going to forget their problems. Someday when she’s fifty years old, Coley will still be pained a little by this time in her life.

    …I think I’ll have to pick this book up after reading this review. 🙂

  10. I haven’t read anything by Scott but the ladies over at Clear Eyes, Full Shelves love her so much that I’ve bought this and Freefall recently. I am so glad you loved this one and I can’t wait to read it myself as I love the types of books that deal with issues the way this is dealt. Plus, not neat and wrapped-up ending? YES. I am all for the ambiguous endings! Lovely review, Jamie! 🙂

  11. I’ve always been scared of reading books that deal with abuse, especially the sexual kind. There’s just something so shocking about it: it happens more often then we realize. And that’s scary. I’m also afraid of it being dealt with badly, so I’ve never done it. This one sounds interesting, but I doubt I’ll ever read it.

  12. I kept meaning to tell you on GR when you were reading this, that I bought it late last year and read about half of it…then got buried in review books. So I am RIGHT THERE with you in this review. From what I read, it was emotional, sad, and powerful. I can’t wait to get back to it and get the full story, because holy wow!

    Amazing review, Jamie! You’ve rekindled my interest in this one for sure.

  13. I have this book on hold at the library and now I’m all sorts of scared to read it. I don’t have a doubt in my mind it’s not going to be good but when books deal with such intense and serouis issues I’m always a bit scared to read them. Great Review Jamie, I’m just hoping this one has a happy ending.

  14. Love the review on a post it! 🙂

  15. Wonderful review! These are the kinds of contemporaries I love – the ones that tackle large issues, maybe break my heart a little but somehow glue it back together. This really seems like a novel that will have me exhaling a very deep breath after finishing and just making me think.

  16. Great review – I have had this one on my to read list for a little while and look forward to diving in. Erin

  17. I hadn’t heard of this one until reading your review. I don’t mind “issues” books if they are well done. Sounds like this one was.

  18. Wow! This must have been an intense and tough read. I can relate to having to review books that are hard to read! I am sure you gained something from reading this but I doubt it was a pleasant read!

  19. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt more uncomfortable while reading a book…ever” pretty much sums up how I too felt about this book. I haven’t read Lolita, thank God, but it sounds just as intense. I’ve never been through any kind of abuse such as this so I wasn’t sure how to handle anything. I hadn’t expected this book to affect me the way it did.

  20. Great review, I gravitate towards emotional books dealing with hard topics, so I think this one is for me. And I totally know what you mean saying you enjoyed a book when it is subject matter!

  21. I haven’t read this one yet but it’s on my wishlist. I read Freefall by Scott and really liked it. The voice was done extremely well. Sounds like this is another winner!

  22. This DEFINITELY sounds like my type of contemporary novel. I love when they deal with difficult issues, and allow you to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Even though it does sound like a tough read, I think I’ll end up enjoying it.

    The toughest book I think I’ve ever read is Living Dead Girl. Now THAT was a tough read. :/