My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Laura loves her daughter more than anything in the world.
But nine-year-old Autumn is being bullied. Laura feels helpless.
When Autumn fails to return home from school one day, Laura goes looking for her. She finds a crowd of older children taunting her little girl.
In the heat of the moment, Laura makes a terrible choice. A choice that will have devastating consequences for her and her daughter...
Popular novel subject matter at the moment. Recently divorced Laura moves from London to Bristol with her 9 year old daughter Autumn to start a new life for themselves. They both have to adjust to their new lives, Laura to being a single mother, Autumn as a one parent child and a new place to live with no friends and nothing familiar. It's not surprising that initially everything feels strange and scary especially for a 9 year old girl starting a new school. Unfortunately for Autumn her newness makes her a prime target for a rather nasty bully called Levi an older child who targets her almost from the outset.
As the bullying escalates and when Laura finds she is also being targeted through cyber bullying things start to take on a sinister twist. The author does build momentum well and the pace is pitched just right as the story moves along. I didn't really like Laura much, she was selfish and weak in many ways and I felt she just wasn't as strong as she could have been for her daughter. It seemed incredible to me that she would part with passwords and codes to her computer to a complete stranger knowing that he would have remote access to her computer and all her financial information - it just didn't ring true for me especially in today's world of identity fraud etc. etc. and of course we later learn that the IT specialist is Levi the bully's father it all gets a bit predictable.
I found the writer frustrating at times when she was building tension to lapse into periods of reflection, here she is with a potential intruder in her house at night, her daughter in bed asleep and as she checks on her she has time to reflect on "the feel of her soft skin just after she'd been born, her baby hair, as downy as a fledgling's, the gentle dip of her fontanel where her cranium had not yet fused; how noisy she was like a hedgehog snuffling in its sleep" . She had time for all this reflection while she was scared witless that someone had broken in - really? When her daughter is being held around the throat Laura manages to remember when she was two years old seeing the sea for the first time........ silly unnecessary rhetoric just not needed and detracted from the tension she had worked so hard to build. Just not believable for me but very annoying and pointless to the story line.
I also found the ending and explanation of why Levi's father was doing what he was doing to be rather lame, it seemed that the writer had gone so far with this but hadn't thought it through in terms of motive, the bully was bullied so reacted the way he did was plausible but the reason the bully was bullied was weak and quite frankly just didn't fit.
Disappointing is how I would rate this novel, it promised so much but really didn't deliver in the end. Only worth 2 stars from me, there are better psychological thrillers out there although she did manage to convey the misery and vulnerability of the victim hence the 2 stars.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.