‘Girl A,’ she said. ‘The girl who escaped. If anyone was going to make it, it was going to be you.’
Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped. When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.
Girl A by Abigail Dean is being published in January 2021 and is being marketed as “the biggest fiction debut of 2021”, and “the book that will define a decade”. Those are quite powerful statements so I started the book with my expectations much higher than usual.
The book is narrated by Lex, now a successful lawyer living in the USA, who grew up with her 6 siblings in her parents house which is known as “The House of Horrors” – a victim of horrific abuse and neglect at the hands of her parents, Lex finally escaped at the age of 15 and was dubbed “Girl A” in the press and throughout the court case.
Years later, the surviving children have all grown up and moved on with their lives when they find out their mother has died in prison and left the children the house and a sum of money which brings Lex back to the UK and having to revisit and face her horrific past and reconnect with her estranged siblings.
Lex is not the easiest characters to get to know despite her narrative, however given the subject matter and emotional trauma she’s experienced it’s not hard to imagine why she is so distant and reserved.
This book will contain triggers for readers and it is a very dark and uncomfortable read at times, especially when Lex recounts her youth and the abuse she experienced at the hands of her parents.
The writing is beautiful and powerful and dark, the storyline is disturbing and heartbreaking throughout. Will it be the biggest fiction debut in 2021 and the book to define a decade? I’m not sure, but I would recommend it to those who enjoy the darker side of fiction.