I have heard great things about Ainsworth's writing, how powerful it is, and honest. And while I really wanted to try it, I was a little nervous. I get probably way too invested in characters so when there's a story specifically on domestic abuse, it's going to hurt. And it did but it was so good, so very insightful and brutally honest, that I did really like it.
This was a toxic relationship, right from the start. It started off quite subtle, like the way he wanted her to style her hair, then got progressively worse, telling her what to eat, how to do her make-up, then grabbing her arm and her hair. As Will can't quite control his anger, it shows how abuse can start and snowball into something unrecognizable. Anna was twisted to Will's way of thinking, she didn't want to make him angry because he loved her, right?
With Will's little journal entries, we saw inside his head and sort of understood his reasoning; he had been abused by his older brother, and his mother was a wreck, his father absent, and he just wanted something he could control. It was still awful, of course, but somehow by trying to understand it, it made it a bit more bearable, as Will was a victim too. Not that that excuses his behavior, it just makes it more understandable. At least from my perspective.
All in all, a very tough story that dealt with abuse the best way it could, be laying it all out as something to be identified and talking about it openly.
Published 3rd March 2016 by Scholastic. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.