Friday, November 11, 2016
'Once Confronted' by Lynne Stringer
After a normal day turns disastrous, Madison Craig tries to put her life back together. She's jumping at shadows and finds even familiar places terrifying. Can she forgive the men who hurt her? Her friend Evan Mansfield sees no need to do anything but hate their assailants. He struggles with bitterness, but Maddy wants to move on. What will she do when one of the men asks for forgiveness?
Genre: Contemporary YA fiction
The story shows how the impact of a few terrifying moments can adversely affect a person's life from then on. Even when your conscious mind is thankful to have come through, and happy to put it behind you, PTSD can have a strange way of rearing its ugly head. Time isn't necessarily a solvent for all wounds, and tears may be unexpectedly close to the surface at random times.
It all starts when the main character Maddy Craig and her good friend Evan are held up at gunpoint and robbed while working in a book shop. The relief of coming through okay is short lived, as each of them develops their own personal coping mechanisms to watch their backs from then on.
Forgiveness is another major theme, and one close to my heart. When Jeremy, one of the crooks who has served his time, reaches out to Maddy expressing his remorse, she struggles to figure out how to respond.
It's a fairly short YA novel, but with a lot of ethical content packed into it. It gets the reader questioning whether things are ever clear cut enough to label anyone 'good' or 'bad'. In the way he chooses to respond to his trauma, is Evan really any different from Jeremy, who is also shown to have had rough events in his past, helping to set him on a bad path? And to what extent should someone have to prove that they can now be trusted?
The novel also gives a glimpse into the very challenging lives of social workers, and at the bottom of Maddy's heart is always the cry, 'How can I get my old, confident self back?'
Thanks to Rhiza Press and NetGalley for my review copy.