Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: January 27th, 2015
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Seventeen-year-old Charlotte barely escaped from her abusive parents. Now she's trying to start a new life, but while she can erase her former identity, she can’t rid herself of the memories. And her troubled history won’t let her ignore the little girl she sees in the park. The girl with the bruises and burn marks.
That’s when Charlotte begins to receive the threatening notes left in her apartment—without a trace of entry. As the messages grow more menacing, she doesn’t just need to uncover who is leaving them; she needs to stop whoever it is before anyone else she loves ends up dead.
“Now they are dying. Now they are dead. And I don’t regret what I’ve done.”
I’m not sure why but I’ve always been drawn to things with dark undertones: books, music, people. I’d like to think of myself as a fairly happy and optimistic person, but sometimes it’s easier to understand the emotions that drive a person in their darkest hours. I like venturing out of my comfort zone and reading about issues and people that scare, yet intrigue me. There is a level of intimacy when it comes to diving into a story that has the power to make you fearful and uncomfortable. That’s what I experienced with Cut Me Free. Charlotte’s story is laced in pain and desperation, but beyond that this is a story of courage and survival.
“Minutes stretch as I stand in the shadows of skyscrapers, trying to wrap my head around how small I really am…even when the rip through my heart seems impossibly large.”
With a story like Charlotte’s it would be easy for this novel to travel down the rabbit hole of despair and never come back, but surprisingly it didn’t. This could easily be attributed to Cam, the helpful, handsome, and protective force in Charlotte’s life that has her questioning what it is to trust someone. Their interactions really did put Charlotte in a new light. I would have liked if the romance would have been a little more prominent, especially in the middle of the story, because with stories with heavy themes, like this one, it helps to have something soft and lighthearted in contrast. But what really, really, made me enjoy this story was the relationship Charlotte had with Sanda. Charlotte and Sanda have a very sisterly relationship. Sanda tugged at my heart with her ability to try to overcome all the pain she was subjected to. I liked the person Charlotte became in Sanda’s presence.
“One fact that remains after everything else settles. I will not let Cam or Sanda become collateral damage in the carnage of my life.”
Besides the strong personal character developments and even stronger character relationships, Cut Me Free had a good amount of twists and turns to turn what was a dark story into a thriller. I did have a few moments where I ended up skimming things, especially towards the end, but overall I really did enjoy where this story went. Do I think this book is for everyone? Probably not. I know that the themes (abuse, murder, human trafficking etc.) explored in this are a bit heavier than some might be able to handle, but it’s worth a few uncomfortable and squeamish scenes for the writing and story.