Alex seems to be the teenager who would create nightmares for any parent. Her parents going through a separation and especially her Mum is bewildered by the reasons for a divorce in a marriage which seemed fine. Jake seems distant, not wanting to communicate and to add to their troubles has moved back into their basement home, wanting to not be part of the marriage though very much in their face.
Alex has faced the death of her best friend Cass and she feels she is personally responsible for her death. Alex cannot move from the miasma of grief which overwhelms her and seems to be drifting deeper and deeper into trouble. Meg knows it is upto them as parents to pull Alex out and to this end enrolls her in a residential care facility for trouble teens. She does this however without the tacit consent of Jake and Alex leaving for this facility, unintentionally spirals into a nightmare for all concerned.
The difficulties of dealing with a taciturn, aggressive teenager who just wants to be difficult and different are difficult enough reading about, let alone living with it. Having to deal with them on a day to day basis must be a living horror. This is the story of how Alex and how her parents eventually deal with it, because her mother never gives up on the belief that Alex can be redeemed. Lots of mothers and fathers would have definitely given up.
This is not an easy read as you feel exasperated, angry, bitter and wonder how much more parents can take from children who expect everything and give nothing back. I felt like giving up halfway but persevered and was glad I did.
The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.