This novel is so incredibly moving from the very first page to the very last sentence. Reminiscent of the novel Room, I couldn’t get enough of this new book by Clara Kensie called Aftermath. This is the story of a girl who finally gets free from her captor, and realizes how much life has changed in the last four years that she’s been trapped in an attic. From the ages of 11-16 she hasn’t seen the world outside, only the four walls of the attic she’s been living in with the man that took her away from a football game.
I have read quite a few books about kidnappings, but this one was a little bit different. This talks about what happened to Charlotte after she returned from the shackles she had been confined to for four years. While being held captive, Charlotte dreamt of her family, her twin sister, Alexa, and the dream book that they created together. She always knew that her sister was doing the things in the dream book, and she knew that her parents were searching for her far and wide, together and in love.
When her captor, who she calls Keeper, collapses one day and is found by his sister unconscious on the stairs to the attic, Charlotte isn’t sure if this is a trap, he’s set up many before, or if he really is sick and being sent to the hospital. She decides it’s time to make some noise, and soon the EMT’s bust into the attic and see Charlotte locked in a cage. The EMT’s recognize her immediately and get her to safety as soon as possible.
The Keeper is still alive, but at least Charlotte is safe with her family now. The burden she bears from his beatings, rape, and kidnapping are heavy on her heart. When she realizes that everything has changed since she was 11 years old, she can barely stand to go back to her normal life. Her mother and father are no longer together, and her father has remarried, he even has a new baby. Her sister has totally forgotten about the dream book, and seems to blame Charlotte for taking the attention of their mother and father all those years ago when she disappeared.
It’s a long road to a seemingly normal life after being kidnapped, but Charlotte is determined to get there. She wants to join the cheerleading team, and repair the relationship with her sister. Is it possible to start over? To remove the Keeper’s hands from her neck and live a happy life?
This book gives me chills, the feelings that Charlotte has are so tangible and terrifying that I could feel them too. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be taken from your family and treated like dirt, but I can’t imagine that the transition from that to regular life is easy for anyone. I really enjoyed the way this book was written, and how I really got to get into Charlotte’s head. She just wants to be a normal 16 year old girl, who flirts with boys and hangs out with the cheerleaders. Yet, she struggles with feeling safe and feeling as if her Keeper is going to snatch her up again. There are other elements to this book that just make it so fascinating, but I don’t want to spoil that for you. Go pick up a copy of this book because it’s incredible. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, I received this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.