‘NEW NAME .
Annie’s mother is a serial killer.
The only way she can make it stop is to hand her in to the police.
But out of sight is not out of mind.
As her mother’s trial looms, the secrets of her past won’t let Annie sleep, even with a new foster family and name – Milly.
A fresh start. Now, surely, she can be whoever she wants to be.
But Milly’s mother is a serial killer. And blood is thicker than water.
Good me, bad me.
She is, after all, her mother’s daughter…
Okay, the premise for this is so excellent isn’t it? Like I wish, wish, I had thought of this and then written it. But I’m not sure I could have done it as well as Ali Land whose prose just sucks you in. I think I said in my last review that I don’t scare easy, and I don’t. I am a sensitive soul, but have a strong stomach for, and a morbid fascination with, the more unsettling things in life. I write crime after all, and read mainly within the genre, and a fair bit of horror too.
But this book! I honestly lost sleep over it.
I like a bit of Young Adult (YA) fiction; love it in fact, and this book kind of feels like that because our narrator, young and troubled Annie, is a teenage girl. She has a lot of the usual ‘teenager stuff’ going on but she is also carrying terrible secrets and wrestling with demons most of us just could not imagine. It’s not a book for kids though. It’s really, really grown-up, and astute, and troubling.
The Newmonts who take Annie in, seem like the perfect family, but they are not. They have gaping holes in their system and Annie is torn between trying to remedy them, and widening them. She talks a lot about the Buddhist idea of the good wolf and the bad wolf, and which one to feed. This book really is dealing with big issues.
She is a young woman struggling to come to terms with her past and ultimately trying to decide if she wants to let it define her, or if indeed, she has any choice in it. She is drawn to children, as her mother as before her, but she is not yet fully-formed herself. She is complex and well-rounded, as are the other teenage girls we encounter. The bitchiness and bullying is depicted well, and the school world is believable: it is these portions of the book that feel a bit YA.
This isn’t an easy read but it is so, so, good. Don’t miss it: but maybe don’t read it before bed, unless you want to be awake, in the dark, pondering good and evil.