But now, there is a liver. Olivia believes that if she has managed to survive a life with James this long, she can hold out a little longer. Maddie will miraculously be healed, and Olivia can start working out the details of her new plan. And then - finally - she will muster up the courage to make her escape.
This is the first book by Amy Hatvany I've read, and now I want to read her other novels. She's been compared to Kristin Hannah, a comparison with which I agree, and Safe with Me was a harrowing first-hand look at domestic abuse, as well as a glimpse into a household where tension is always in the air, due to a sick teenager who needs a liver transplant.
The Bells, however, have problems of their own. Once on the verge of leaving her wealthy but abusive husband, Olivia now finds herself bound to him as never before in the wake of the successful transplant that saved their fifteen-year-old daughter’s life. Meanwhile Maddie, tired of the limits her poor health puts upon her and fearful of her father’s increasing rage, regularly escapes into the one place where she can be anyone she wants: the Internet. But when she is finally healthy enough to return to school, the real world proves to be just as complicated as the isolated bubble she had been so eager to escape.
A masterful narrative, shaped by nuanced characters whose fragile bonds are on a collision course with the truth, Safe with Me is a triumph.
This novel was interesting because one child had to die so that another could live: Hannah's young daughter, Emily, gets hit by a car, and the doctor urges Hannah to donate Emily's organs. Maddie, who has been on a transplant wait list for a while, receives Emily's liver, and is finally able to start living a quasi-normal life because of it.
At the same time, Olivia has been trying to get away from James, Maddie's father, for quite a while, as he beats and abuses her, though he's never touched Maddie. That's about to change, though, as Olivia and Maddie have some secrets they've been keeping from him.
This novel was written in 3rd person, but from an omniscient point of view, so it was easy to get inside the characters' heads, which I liked. Hannah struggles with whether she should tell Olivia and Maddie that it was Hannah's daughter that provided a liver for Maddie; Olivia needs to choose a safe time to grab Maddie and leave James, for good; Maddie is struggling with normal teenager things that she didn't get to experience pre-transplant; and we "hear" them all, as the 'voice' in this book is great.
I'd recommend this novel for anyone who likes interesting family stories, or really for anyone that enjoys a layered story with many characters folded into the mix.
3.5 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.
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