Review originally published on Examiner.com
What should one say about a book that was genuinely disturbing, but heart crushingly sweet and in my opinion, genuine. It was equal parts difficult and un-putt-downable. I dread reading stories about abuse, it makes for an uncomfortable experience for the audience, especially if the abuse happens on the page rather than in a fleeting tidbit of the backstory. Despite knowing exactly what this story was about, thanks to a descriptive synopsis, I picked it up and dug in.
Amber Walker and her older brother, Jake, have an abusive father. One night her brother's best friend, Liam, sees her crying and climbs through her bedroom window to comfort her. That one action sparks a love/hate relationship that spans over the next eight years.Liam is now a confident, flirty player who has never had a girlfriend before. Amber is still emotionally scarred from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. Together they make an unlikely pair.Their relationship has always been a rocky one, but what happens when Amber starts to view her brother's best friend a little differently? And how will her brother, who has always been a little overprotective, react when he finds out that the pair are growing closer? Find out in The Boy Who Sneaks In My Bedroom Window.
Here's the thing about this book, its as much about the physical and sexual abuse a father puts his family through as it is about the love story and the characters journey to move past the aforementioned abuse. But it is not easy to get through. I felt myself wincing repeatedly when mention of Amber and Jake's father was made. The last few pages found me shouting at myself and my e-reader hoping that somehow what I was saying would get through to the characters. It obviously didn't work and I was insane for even trying, but you can't help it while reading this story.
I feel like Kirsty Moseley has an important story to tell in The Boy Who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window. A story about abuse, love, hardships and finding the strength to move past it and find happiness. Having said that, do I think this is an appropriate book for the YA audience? No, I don't. The sexual abuse is vivid, the physical even more so. The consensual sex is a little more reserved but still descriptive enough to prevent me from recommending it for YA readers. Honestly, it's such a heavy, meaty story that I don't know if I would want a teen just stumbling upon this book and reading it for the love story. Because while it's a beautiful one, it's just the tip of the iceberg. Sex, rape, abuse, abortion, violence, drinking, lying, the story really covers all sorts of subjects.
I think the best way to review this story is as follows, I would recommend that parents read it first, if you feel it's appropriate for your teenage children to read it pass it along. But make sure you engage with them after they have read it.