How many of my reviews start “I bought this because I saw it online”? Well, Girl A by Abigail Dean is another example of that. I’d seen it feature on a lot of people’s Instagram feeds as a book you must read. It’s a dark and mature story that’s well written, but is it worth your time?
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Girl A is kind of a thriller but that’s already happened. It focuses on Lex Gracie or Girl A who was one of the victims of a horrible childhood in which her father kept her and her siblings under strict house arrest. This book tells the story of how this came to be whilst guiding us through Lex Gracie’s adult life at the same time.
Girl A plot – 3/5
Girl A’s plot is a tricky one to discuss as there’s not a large amount really going on. As I mentioned above, we’re slowly told about the history of Lex Gracie and her siblings and the house of horrors that they grew up in. We slowly find out how their house goes from a fairly normal one (albeit with a controlling father) into one where they’re housebound and forced to escape. It’s a story you’d hope more from and I never really felt got going or provided any tense or interesting moment, unfortunately.
While we learn about her childhood and see the different lives that the other siblings have grown into, we also find out where Lex is now and how her life has developed. Again here, very little is actually happening. You sort of just live through the moments and live through her life with some slightly small dramas happening. There are never really any moments where I thought “ooh, this is getting interesting now.” There is a slight twist at the end, but not one that is really that powerful or interesting due to the lack of build-up or background to it. Overall, I kind of just guided through Girl A without ever really caring what was going on. Even how their childhood developed into the horror it became was slightly underwhelming.
I must make a note of the good writing by Dean. Despite the lack of any progress or gripping plotline, Dean does do a brilliant job of writing this with some great prose, well-formed sentences, nice similes, metaphors etc. Shame what she’s actually writing about is a tad dull.
Girl A characters – 3/5
Abigail Dean knows that by having a childhood like Lexie and her siblings did that they’d grow up with certain uneven tendencies which are woven into their characters. However, I must say, some absolute lack of personality has been woven into everybody as well. Not a single in this character was a highlight for me – they all just went through the motions of life, asked a few questions every now and then and then just carried on trundling through their lives.
If some of the supporting characters had stopped Abigail Dean from being dull, this may have drawn in my interest quite a bit, but they simply weren’t. There are a few different personalities in the book, those who haven’t grown up so well from the childhood traumas and those who have gone on to live more regular lives, but none of them are particularly memorable.
Girl A summary – 3/5
Girl A was a book that I went into with quite high expectations and unfortunately came out very underwhelmed. It’s a book that I can see why people liked it – the interesting tale of how Lex’s family home down spiralled into the dark place that meant she had to escape. However, there weren’t enough tense moments and the tale wasn’t that interesting to actually read about.
Abigail Dean has a fantastic writing style and one that means I wouldn’t be averse to picking up another of her books despite that one not taking my fancy. However, with a severe lack of action, interesting characters or anything really going on, I can’t really recommend Girl A to anyone unless they love tales about dark family homes.