I downloaded this one after reading Caitlin’s review, despite her warnings about the more disturbing bits. I’m glad I did — this book stressed me the fuck out, but it was really pretty incredible.
“There are laws in place that stop us from doing things. This is what we tell ourselves. In truth we stop ourselves; the law is a guideline for how to punish someone who is caught.”
Alex’s sister Anna was murdered, and now she’s just that dead girl’s sister. People don’t really see her — in school, in town, or even at her very broken home. What they would never even guess is that Alex took revenge on her sister’s murderer, and she’s prepared to do it again. She’s prepared to never get hurt the way her sister did, which means putting up walls, and using her fists as necessary. But when she begins to bond with the preacher’s kid (Peekay, of course), and feel some interest in one of the boys at school, she has to decide if those walls are worth it after all.
I’m not advocating that teenage girls go around killing grown men, but man did I love Alex. She takes no shit from anyone. The stuff that other girls learn to laugh off in school — boys making jokes about sex, grabbing their butts in the hall, etc — she responds by breaking wrists and groin kicks. She’s tough, but McGinnis writes her with an incredible vulnerability underneath. And I love the way she speaks, so intelligently and authoritatively. Very unlike the average teens in YA. The other characters — even the bimbo Barbie girl — get the same amazing treatment, rounding them out as real characters. I was also super impressed with the ending, which I won’t spoil except to say that she pulls no punches, not even when you expect her to.