Faith has grown up in the shadow of her big sister, even though she isn't there. So when Laurel suddenly turns up, Faith is torn; obviously she's glad to have her sister back but she's basically grown up an only child and Laurel is going to change things. I loved how honestly this confliction was portrayed, as the moment Faith had a bad thought about Laurel she immediately went back on herself.
As Laurel finds herself back in her place in her family, everything is altered. Not only is Faith feeling confused, but their mum is hell-bent on making sure Laurel is comfortable to the point of being annoying, their dad is back in their house even though he moved out and is with a new partner. Speaking of, I loved this little side story of their dad being bisexual and how this has affected their lives, both before and after Laurel's return.
A huge part of the story is the influence and impact of the media. As a cute little white girl, Laurel's disappearance was front-page news and her parents money allowed it to stay in the public domain. And of course when she returns, Laurel and her family once again is big news as everyone wants to know what happened to her and how she's settling back in. There was TV interviews, book deals, harassing reporters and all sorts to deal with, and that is something that we don't think about when we see this on our tellies.
I kept on waiting for the other shoe to drop; I expect the very worst from Clarke and that grittiness is something I love in her books. The dark revelation came later than I expected, not that what happened to Laurel wasn't dark enough of course, but I had a horrible feeling there would be a twist. It was the very last chapter that completely threw me. Another hit for Clarke, I think, one that makes you think and breaks your heart.
Published 2nd July 2015 by Quercus.