Thursday, October 24, 2019

Furious Thing by Jenny Downham

Lex used to have a fairytale life with her mother, and the two of them shared the close bond of people trying to hunker down against the rest of the world. Then Lex's mom met John, the man who seemed like he was the answer to all of their problems: the prince who sweeps the princess off to happily-ever-after. But John isn't as nice as he appears; and Lex, once the apple of her mother's eye, is losing herself to a furious and sweeping anger.

FURIOUS THING is such a good book. It's nonstop drama, from start to finish, but has more value than a book written purely to titillate. It's about a girl who is the victim to emotional abuse in a toxic and enabling family dynamic, who acts out with anger, and nobody bothers to understand why she's upset. The book is about Lex struggling to deal with her anger and trying to break the vicious cycle, all the while trying to show other people the side of her stepfather that nobody else seems to see.

I think this will be a really hard read for some people, because as other reviewers before me have said, there aren't any easy answers. Many of the things that Lex does are wrong, but her sister, mother, and stepfather aren't blameless, either. It really shows the fine line between emotional abuse and the usual family flare-ups, and how a toxic environment can amplify maladaptive behaviors. I didn't really like anyone in this book but it was a great story and I couldn't put it down; I had to see what happened.

If you like books that challenge your way of thinking about the world and don't provide you with all the answers, I think you'll like this book. It kind of reminds me of those edgy YA novels that came out under the Speak imprint in the mid-2000s; it has that same kind of "voice." I really enjoyed it.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!  

4 out of 5 stars

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