Saturday, December 2, 2023

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens


I just finished this book and I swear my jaw is still unhinged from that twist. First and foremost, though, this book needs to have a solid page of trigger warnings because it is one of the most psychologically intense books I've picked up in a while, and the first half basically sucked my soul into a black and desolate void. DON'T pick this up if you cannot read about on-page rapes or you're feeling depressed and miserable, because this book will make you feel so much worse.

That said, it's brilliant. The first person narrative feels so raw, and Annie is a survivor in every sense of the word. While on Threads, we were talking about strong female protagonists and how some authors like to shit on weak or traumatized female characters in order to boost able-bodied and emotionally stoic women who kick butt, possess sexual agency, and mostly have their shit together. And that's all well and good, but while reading this book, I kept thinking about this comment someone left on my thread, about how sometimes survival itself is strength. And that's this book. Strength in survival.

STILL MISSING is a lot like ROOM by Emma Donoghue or Roxane Gay's UNTAMED STATE. It shows the psychic aftermath of abuse, but also has a woman regaining her sexual agency after trauma (with a pretty hot scene) and some genuinely shocking and memorable twists. I don't want to say more, because less is more going in, however I will say that there is infanticide, mentions of child sexual abuse, and also animal deaths (graphic and upsetting ones). I will definitely be checking out more from this author but I probably won't ever read this one again. I  sure won't forget it, though.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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