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Girl on the Brink: A Novel Kindle Edition
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This is a well written book in a style that any age can read to understand the signs of abuse and find helpful.
Kieran tells Chloe about his past. His childhood was difficult and Chloe's heart aches for him. Because of this she initially accepts his mood swings. Kieran can become jealous and abusive and surprises Chloe with his behavior over and over again. Chloe loves him though, so she tries to be supportive and she wants to make things better for him. Meanwhile she's about to lose everything she holds dear. What's more important, being there for Kieran because he needs her or being a normal happy high school student again? And what would happen if Chloe would leave Kieran, can she handle the consequences or is it better to stay?
Girl on the Brink is a beautiful, shocking story. At first Chloe thinks she's found the perfect boyfriend. Kieran isn't like any boy she's ever met. He's kind, he listens to what she has to say and he seems to be genuinely interested in Chloe's life. He also gives her plenty of advice. Chloe thinks she's found the perfect boyfriend. When Kieran shows her his true nature Chloe tries to help him because of his past. She's sweet and caring and I had tears in my eyes when I read her story. Kieran is intense, he's suffocating and he's jealous. He uses his concern and affection to show Chloe that he's such a good and loving boyfriend, while she's the one with shortcomings. At first she believes him, which was heartbreaking to read. Christina Hoag has perfectly captured how abusive relationships start and how gradually the victim is being lured into the trap.
Girl on the Brink is impressive and very well written. Christina Hoag has made her story gripping and filled with emotion. I loved Chloe from the start. She's smart, she's capable and she has a bright future ahead of her. She doesn't have an easy time and she's vulnerable, which is why it's so easy for Kieran to get close. Christina Hoag shows her readers all the signs of (impending) abuse. I loved the way she intertwines information with a great story and she's writing about warning signals in a fantastic way. Girl on the Brink is a story about an incredibly important topic and the writing is amazing. It's a book that should be read by as many people as possible.
Chloe has an internship at her town's weekly newspaper, and she meets Kieran while out doing an interview for the paper. He's two years older and seems engaging and charming. He sympathizes about her family issues, confessing his own youthful trauma, and they bond quickly. Also, Kieran isn't like other boys who seem to only want sex. He woos her with dates and conversation, shares his grand dreams to become an actor and makes Chloe feel wanted and loved at a time where she's feeling lonely and abandoned by family.
Soon, however, Chloe begins to notice that Kieran is constantly shielding her from her friends, and he's cajoling her into doing what he wants all the time. He's attentive in a way that's becoming problematic--stalking her physically or via phone calls at work. Whenever Chloe attempts to assert herself, or her independence he's right there, convincing her how much he loves her, and how they really fit together emotionally. They are physical with each other, and Chloe believes Kieran's "truth," but it gets difficult to manage his mood swings. He's erratic, and jealous, and gets angry quickly, followed by dramatic apologies and presents.
Each time Chloe recognizes that Kieran's love for her is obsessive, he convinces her to make more and more sacrifices for his wishes. She has so few ties at this point, that his sabotage easily severs her flailing friendships. All along there's been small instances of physical abuse, beginning with intimidation and escalating into pushes, shoves and one harrowing weekend where Kieran essentially keeps Chloe prisoner in her own home.
It's then that Chloe finally reaches out. Her mother's able to be responsive, and act as an advocate, though the problems haven't ended. I liked the story, and felt like it was an important one to tell. Also, it's written in an accessible way, seeing how slowly domestic violence can creep into a relationship. Chloe is a good student, and good kid. Her family is middle class, and her friends are normal. She's an Everyday gal, who can't comprehend the danger she's in until she's literally running for help.
Part and parcel with Chloe's situation is her embarrassment that she could be dating an abuser. She often wonders how she could have been foolish enough to fall for Kieran, but she also misses the way he made her feel cherished and loved. He's two people in her mind: Sweet Kieran and Mean Kieran, which is a common experience for abuse victims. There's a lot of honest self-reflection in the story, and guides the reader to understand the underpinning signs of abuse, and emotional manipulation. Chloe's lucky that she was able to get help when she did, but she makes further (common) mistakes in how she shuts Kieran down. People wonder why women don't report abuse, or why they allow their abusers to return--some of this complicated cycle is very plainly demonstrated in the book, and that's a powerful object lesson for younger readers, in particular.
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