Monday, August 1, 2011


Story Description:

Sixteen-year-old Olivia Mansfield dreams of a land far, far away. . .A land far away from her stepfather’s abuse and torment. A land far away from her mother’s blind eye.  A land far away from the haunting memories of her past. But then reality sets in, and Olivia knows she must make the best of her dire situation—at least until her high-school graduation. But when poor choices lead Olivia to the brink of a complete breakdown and she finds herself dealing with the unexpected death of her best friend, she comes to a crossroads. Will Olivia find the path to ultimate hope and healing that her heart longs for?
Or will the demons from her past prove too much to bear?

My Review:

Olivia Mansfield played the Oboe in the high school band and was in Grade 10.  She lives with her mother and second husband, Chuck, who was abusive with Olivia, and her older brother Jake who is deaf.  Chuck hated Olivia as much as Olivia hated Chuck.  Unfortunately, Mom had her head in the sand and anytime Olivia attempted to talk with her Mom about Chuck, she either changed the conversation or tore a strip off Olivia for even thinking about saying anything derogatory about Chuck who had “given her everything she ever wanted” according to her mother.

At one point, Olivia’s Mom went away for two days leaving her alone in the house with Chuck.  No way did Olivia even want to think about that so she called her new friend Jordyn and asked her to come over.  Jordyn was in trouble with her parents and only allowed to stay until ten o’clock which Olivia figured was better than no Jordyn at all.

When Jordyn drove up a few minutes later, she had a 6-pack of beer with her.  Olivia had never drank before and wasn’t happy about it.  Fearing she’d lose her new friend she reluctantly sipped on one beer.  By ten o’clock Jordyn had drunk the other 5 beers and she was plainly plastered!  Olivia wanted her to take a taxi home but Jordyn was afraid how she’d explain that to her parents.  So, off she went, keys in hand to drive home and Olivia let her go!

A few minutes after she left, Charles came to Olivia’s room and demanded she unlock her door and let him in.  Olivia did NOT want to do that but she had no choice.  So, she “…sent her mind and heart fluttering out the window to a far-off land while her body crept to the door.  She slowly unlocked the fate she’d been living for years.”  Not being believed by her own mother led Olivia to become ‘numb’ to everything.  To live dangerously because being good all the time wasn’t getting her anywhere.  She called Jordyn and went to a party at a friend’s house.  Soon Olivia was chugging beer and smoking cigarettes. 

After stumbling and dropping her beer glass, a hand reaches out to catch her and when Olivia regains her footing and looks up she realizes she is staring into Jake’s face.  Jake is totally angry, grabs the cigarette out of Olivia’s hand and stomps it into the ground.  Olivia tells Jake he shouldn’t care about what she is doing because she is sixteen-years-old.  This behaviour continues until Olivia ultimately ends up at Diamond Estates where counsellors work with teenagers who are out of control.  To cover up the pain she has suffered in her life, and Olivia has dealt with a lot more than just Charles, she embarks on a new journey to find herself and God.

I was so totally lost in this story that I just couldn’t stop reading!  The characters were so well developed, the story so well written, the ups and downs and twists and turns were phenomenal.  The writing was so descriptive that I could picture clearly in my mind’s eye, Diamond Estate perfectly.  I was so engrossed in each of the girl’s stories and friendships that I felt like I was living on a cot in the room the four girls shared together.  I felt that close to them.  Although this was originally written as a young adult novel, it is also great reading for any age.  At 368 pages it only took me a few hours to buzz through it because it was that good!!!  Be sure to pick up a copy as this is one story you won’t forget.

***Preview courtesy of Netgalley***

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