“After police intervention, fifteen-year-old Joy has finally escaped the trailer where she once lived with her mother and survived years of confinement and abuse. Now living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in a comfortable house, she’s sure she’ll never belong. Wracked by panic attacks, afraid to talk to anyone at her new school, Joy’s got a whole list of reasons why she’s crazy. With immense courage, Joy finds friends and grows closer to her new family. But just when hope is taking hold, she learns she must testify in her mother’s trial. Can she face her old life without losing her way in the new one? Will she ever truly belong in a world that seems too normal to be real?”
– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17425196-stronger-than-you-know)
I’d like to thank NetGalley and Albert Whitman & Co. for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
From my experience with another book written by Jolene Perry (The Summer I found You), I already knew that this was likely to be a character-driven book. And I was right. Joy has an extremely heartbreaking story, and now that she is finally out of the terrible situation she grew up in, she has to deal with all those ghosts. At first, it was really interesting and well done. But then, nothing really seemed to happen. In other words, what I missed here was a plotline.
Don’t get me wrong, Joy’s journey was intense and full of setbacks and little steps forward. But it was not enough to really keep my interest. Perhaps some sort of subplot could have been added, involving some of the secondary characters, just to liven things up a bit.
There was some romance, yes, but again, it was not enough. I didn’t find myself really rooting for them. I just thought they were cute together. I have to say that the character I liked the most here was Joy’s uncle. He was an amazing and understanding person (I don’t know if I would have that kind of patience. Probably not.)
For a short read, this actually felt a bit long. The writing style was really nice, and it was because of it that I didn’t give this book up.
Rating: 3 out of 5