Title: Stronger Than You Know
Author: Jolene Perry
After police intervention, fifteen-year-old Joy has finally escaped the trailer where she once lived with her mother and survived years of confinement and abuse. Now living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in a comfortable house, she's sure she'll never belong.
Wracked by panic attacks, afraid to talk to anyone at her new school, Joy's got a whole list of reasons why she's crazy. With immense courage, Joy finds friends and grows closer to her new family.
But just when hope is taking hold, she learns she must testify in her mother's trial. Can she face her old life without losing her way in a new one? Will she ever truly belong in a world that seems too normal to be real?
I have a thing for books dealing with mental health issues. It's a personal thing, but it makes a book all that much better when the author gets the feelings right. Joy deals with anxiety and panic, things that are hard to describe without making the character relatively useless. The author did a fantastic job though.
Joy breaks out of her shell relatively quickly (and it is a pretty short book), but it doesn't seem rushed. The fact that the chapters are names clever things that Joy is dealing with just adds to the book's charm.
There were a few times I wanted to put the book down because I was so afraid something lousy was going to happen to Joy just when she was finally getting better, but this book won't let you. I think I read it in two days, which is a record for me in the last couple years.
I'm also glad it wrapped up where it did, Joy isn't fixed, but she's on her way.
Plus, just look at the cover with the paint strokes, awesome.