Wednesday, October 23, 2019

YA ARC Review: All the Things We Do in the Dark by Saundra Mitchell

All the Things We Do in the Dark
Author: Saundra Mitchell
Publication: HarperTeen (October 29, 2019)

Description: Sadie meets Girl in Pieces in this dark, emotional thriller by acclaimed author Saundra Mitchell.

Something happened to Ava. The curving scar on her face is proof. Ava would rather keep that something hidden—buried deep in her heart and her soul.

But in the woods on the outskirts of town, the traces of someone else’s secrets lie frozen, awaiting Ava’s discovery—and what Ava finds threatens to topple the carefully constructed wall of normalcy that she’s spent years building around her.

Secrets leave scars. But when the secret in question is not your own—do you ignore the truth and walk away? Or do you uncover it from its shallow grave and let it reopen old wounds—wounds that have finally begun to heal?

My Thoughts: This first person story lets us deep into the mind of a young woman dealing with a significant tragedy in her life. Ava was raped and assaulted when she was nine years old which has left her with a scar on her face as her only visible injury. Inside she's much more damaged. Now seventeen, she doesn't go anywhere without her mother or her best friend Syd. She doesn't like being around groups of people which makes school a kind of torture for this very bright young woman.

She has a number of hidden tattoos that are all chosen because they are like tattoos that some of her favorite actors and artists have. She is having some troubles with her friend Syd who broke up with her latest and got a new tattoo without telling her while Ava was away visiting her father. She feels that she and Syd are drifting apart and she doesn't know why.

One day she's walking home from school alone when she discovers the body of a young woman hidden in a fallen tree. She can see that the girl has been assaulted. She knows she should call the police but then she remembers all of the things that happened to her after her rape and doesn't want to submit the body to the same things.

Ava also meets a girl that she has known all her life but hasn't hung out with and she falls in love with her which just adds more trauma to a girl who likes things to stay the same and who buries memories in a series of boxes in her mind. Between being haunted by the body that she names Jane, trouble with her best friend Syd, and a new romance, Ava is reeling. When she goes back to visit the body, some boy is there. She chases him down and finds his dropped phone. When he tracks her down again - he's sort of a techno-geek, he tells her that he knows who killed the girl and the evidence is on his phone.

This was a very personal story about the aftereffects of being raped. It was uncomfortable to read and I kept wondering why she - and her over-protective mother - hadn't gotten therapy to deal with these issues. Being told in the first person, it left me wanting to know more about Nick who ended up being her partner in trying to solve the girl's murder and who sort of disappeared off-stage once Ava had to tell about finding the body.

Fans of this sort of psychological thriller will enjoy reading this one. I enjoyed the hopeful ending.

Favorite Quote:
I admitted it before -- I'm broken -- but I think everybody's broken in one way or another. Mine's written on my face and underneath my skin and deep in my brain, and things aren't always okay. But you know what?

Sometimes they are. Sometimes I'm fine. Maybe even most times. So all these people peeping to see what's going to happen next in this prizefight, that's their broken.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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