Young Adult Review: Shock Point by April Henry
Purpose: Personal read
“It was the rough hand over her mouth that convinced Cassie Streng that what was happening was real”
I received a book that Henry co-authored for review a very long time ago. Since then I kept saying that I wanted to read some more of her work. I also follow her on Facebook, so I have heard about all the research and work that she puts into her writing. This has made me even more curious, so I finally picked up her first published YA novel. Henry does not disappoint.
Cassie’s situation is one that is all too familiar for a lot of young people, unfortunately. Her parents are divorced. Her dad has remarried and so has her mom. Her mom is now pregnant and her stepdad is a jerk. She has moved to a new school in a new city and doesn’t have any friends. There’s a lot of transitions and changes that would explain -not excuse- Cassie acting out. When Cassie discovers facts that Rick, her stepfather, would like to keep hidden, Cassie finds herself going through one more transition. This one is life and death.
I liked Cassie as a character. Her situation was familiar, while also being unique. She was not some teen with superpowers. She was in a tough situation and only wanted to do the right thing. Even if the right thing was not easy and put herself in danger. Her father sends her away to Peaceful Cove. This place masquerades as a place for helping troubled teens. In reality, it’s sadistic a place that resembles more of a prison.
When Cassie arrives at Peaceful Cove, I found this hard to read. Not because of the writing. It was just awkward and uncomfortable to watch -read- someone endure physical and psychological abuse. I wanted to jump in and help, to find a way for them all to escape. But I couldn’t, there wasn’t anything for me to do except to keep reading. I don’t think that I would have survived if I had been sent to Peaceful Cove.
This was a very short book, less than two hundred pages, but it packed quite a punch. There’s no “convenient” tools that suddenly appear to provide an easy out. Escaping is a struggle and a risk. While I don’t believe that the ending was rushed, Henry didn’t dwell on Cassie’s escape. There was enough to envision what she was going through without passing into the annoying or unbelievable zone. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Henry’s work.
“And then, while there were still both laughing and before she could think twice about it, Cassie stood on tiptoes and gave Thatcher a kiss.”