The abuse starts when Alessa is just seven years old, her uncle climbs into bed with her one night and begins doing inappropriate things, and it doesn’t stop until she decides to run away at sixteen, where she hopes she’ll find comfort but instead finds more hell to contend with. In Believe Like a Child, Paige Dearth’s debut novel, darkness and horror shroud young Alessa’s life, but maybe she will find someone to give her the love and affection that she so desperately needs. The right kind of love and affection.
I must say, that this is a very graphic book. I read another one of Paige’s books, One Among Us, and though that one was harsh as well, this one was very gritty and if you are triggered easily, you may want to skip this one. As a mother of a little girl, I found it quite hard to read at times, because I wanted to beat the shit out of anyone who was hurting Alessa, but, if you can separate the story from real life than you are going to enjoy this powerful story, for the simple fact that Alessa’s character is beautiful.
As heartbreaking and frustrating as this story is, it’s one of those books you want to keep reading because you want something good to happen for Alessa. You want her to find her happy ending, and get joy out of her life. She’s a strong girl, who has been through so much, and deserves a break.
For being a debut novel, this was honestly so emotionally captivating. I’m impressed with Paige’s ability to make you feel like you are the character, and I think that stems from the fact that Paige was abused herself, I believe, though I don’t know for a fact, that a lot of this story comes from her own personal experiences, which is terrible. Though this book was hard to read, it’s inspirational and definitely not something we should take lightly. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.