Book Title/Author: Live Through This by Mindi Scott
Publisher/Year: Simon Pulse 2012
Genre: Contemporary YA
Other Books From Author: Freefall
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?