"Drink it." She's holding the glass out to me. It's so full that if she tipped her hand just a bit the water would trickle down the side. "Now."
Published by Electric Monkey in June 2016
Pages - 320
June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one – and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net.
But then June meets Blister, a boy in the woods. In him she recognises the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away from her home and be free. Because every creature in this world deserves their freedom . . . But at what price?
This isn't an easy read. It's one of those books that's hard to say you loved, because the story is so dark, realistic, frightening at times and gritty. It's the kind of tale that leaves you feeling like someone has sandpapered your skin, leaving you fragile and scarred.
The book is so beautifully written, you will be surprised to discover that this is only Lisa Heathfield's second book. You would think she has been publishing for years.
Your heart aches for the protagonist, June, as soon as you meet her. The immense suffering she faces at the hands of her step mother is often unbearable to read. I found myself feeling sick and frightened for June, every time Kathleen appeared in the story, because I had no idea how far she would take out her abuse on June. Kathleen inflicts mental and physical abuse, but just enough not to show any outwardly scars. June can't take much more. I struggle to believe that anyone could be as cruel as Kathleen, and yet, just by reading the newspapers, I know that this happens a lot.
Thankfully for June, she has Blister and his family. They keep her sane. They are her little piece of heaven on Earth, where she can escape to. She can't be hurt there...or can she. You want to fight for June. You want to hurt Kathleen and Megan in the same way they hurt June and you spend most of the book, praying for justice to happen.
This is the type of book that stays with you long after you have finished reading it. It will haunt you. Make sure you keep tissues handy for the end, because you will cry.
This is going to be an award winning book. If this isn't up for the Carnegie next year, I'll be very shocked. Seriously, this book could sit happily next to The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks.
A traumatic, heart shattering read that should sweep next year's book awards.