When Smiles Fade by Paige Dearth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a difficult book for me. I had never read this author before so I had no expectations for the story. The first 30% of the book was the hardest for me to get through. I had a lot of memories to work through. I had to go slow and take breaks with other books. I always came back, though. I was invested in the children of this book. All of them, not just Emma, Gracie and Izzy. Their story is heartbreaking and compelling. Sadly, it is a realistic one. If you haven’t known abuse, you may think the author is over the top. Maybe. The book is fiction. Abuse does happen, though. You may think that no one could get away with doing those things to their children. It is harder in some places, today, but it still happens. Even here in the USA where we like to believe that we protect our young. How many times have you questioned someone at the park about a child’s injuries? How many times do you accept your neighbor saying, “she is clumsy,” or, “he likes to roughhouse.”? How many times has your child mentioned a classmates injury and you just said, “that’s too bad.”. See how easy it is? Yes, after too many injuries, we may start whispering about it or possibly ask a deeper question. What happens then? They move. “A better job in a different state.” “Moving back with family.” “Buying a house.” Then it can start all over. This book will open your eyes to a very real problem around the globe. Children are the future. They should be valued not damaged.
I really liked Emma. I liked how the author took us inside her head and heart. I also liked the glimpse into Gracie. If I had a wish for this book, it would be for a companion book of Gracie’s journal. The story gripped me. After I got past the first 30%, I found myself eager to know what was going to happen next. I was hoping for a better life for Emma and Gracie. I won’t give away anything by saying more on the plot twists. There are several. They were surprising to me. The last 70% of the book was easier for me to read. It actually went fast because I didn’t want to put it down. A problem I had with it concerns Izzy. I found myself confused on time passing with her character. I felt like it went too fast and became easily confused about her age. It tripped me up a little.
Please heed the warning of the graphic nature of this book. It is not for everyone. If it is not something you can handle, then, pass it up. If you aren’t certain, please get the sample or check with your library. I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. All opinions expressed are my honest feelings regarding the book. At first I wasn’t certain I wanted to read another book by the author, (due to the explicit scenes). Now though, after having time to breathe and reflect, I think I will. I know what to expect and I know to give myself time. I think the author will captivate me with another heart searing, emotional, gripping read. Give the author a try. I would say, if you do but find yourself thinking it is a DNF, stay with the story until after the 30% mark before deciding if you can or can’t finish it. It is brutal but the author does let you breathe.
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