“We are ‘throwaway girls,’ kids that are too old to be cute and cuddled, too set in our ways, and too old to be saved because the damage has already been done. But to each other we are sponges, soaking up every bit of love and praise we can find. We’re warriors of our pasts, searching for the part of ourselves that want to grow into something more than we’ve been told we’ll ever be. We long to be accepted and loved so we create the only family we’ve got.”
“I run the shard up and down my arms, making my body as broken as my spirit. I imagine myself dead, lying in a pool of blood in the dark, damp stairwell and cry even harder.”
Andy Burton knows a thing or two about survival. Since she was removed from her mother’s home and placed in foster care when she was nine, she’s had to deal with abuse, hunger, and homelessness.
But now that she’s eighteen, she’s about to leave Haywood House, the group home for girls where she’s lived for the past four years, and the closest thing to a real home she’s ever known.
Will Andy be able to carve out a better life for herself and find the happiness she is searching for?
***I received this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Dundurn.
***Contains graphic scenes of abuse, mutilation, and rape. May not be appropriate for some readers. Upper YA.
Throwaway Girl is an incredibly raw and piercing emotional journey into the psyche of a beautiful young girl, broken but undefeated, recovering from the scars of her past. A collision of the past and the present, Throwaway Girl reads almost like a diary, full of poignant memories of loss, abuse, and the struggle of the human spirit to overcome life’s horrors. An achingly brutal and realistic look into child abuse, self-mutilation, and dangerous coping mechanisms, Throwaway Girl empowers the and awakens a sense bittersweet sorrow and admiration for Andy.
Throwaway Girl is a gritty, dark, and introspective journey into the heart of the most twisted and prevalent injustices in our society. The things we look away from because they seem too overwhelming, like we can’t make a difference, that it’s too much, these are the very things that we need to stand up for. Those children who are beaten and broken by their loved ones, who live on the streets, who have no one and are shown “love” in the most violent, horrific, and sickening ways, they’re everywhere and they’re growing in number. Throwaway Girl is harsh and eye-opening. It shows a reality that is mean and cruel and threatens to destroy so many people.
There are many subjects and scenes in this story that are graphic, violent, and mature. For a YA audience, this may be too adult for some readers. However, these subjects are a part of our world and happen every single day. The number of people who have been sexually assaulted is 1 in 4 in the United States. AND that’s the number reported. Awareness is crucial.
Andy is strength embodied, though she doesn’t know it. She fights hard against her circumstances. No matter how hard she’s hit, how many people take from her things that are precious and steal her sense of safety, she bounces back and comes out stronger and more determined. Sometimes, Andy doesn’t know how to cope and she lives in pain, anguish, and distancing herself from reality-much like an out of body experience. Her world is devoid of happiness, it’s bleak and brutal, and made of those who want to damage her for their own selfish reasons. Andy may have her downs, she may feel suicidal, broken, and defeated, but she never ever gives up on her dreams. The moment she discovers the therapeutic value of writing is like a revelation-it’s absolutely beautiful and written so well.
Emotions are off the chart. You’ll feel everything. Love, elation, despair, depression, betrayal, and a need for safety so poignant that it feels as if you’re living the emotions as they happen. It’s powerful.
The love story was a serendipitous event that’s sudden and becomes a little like a plot filler. It’s glossed over and while the build up is talked about, it’s summarized, without any true scenes.
The discovery of her mother after ten years have passed is not traumatic or even psychologically explored. It’s just there, from one scene to the next with no effect on Andy’s character growth. It’s there and then gone, this should have been a pivotal moment for Andy, one that spiraled into deep emotional reflection and processing and it’s disregarded. The transition from this scene to the next is abrupt and feels as through an entire plot point was completely forgotten or even ignored.
Andy’s healing process is mentioned but barely. How Andy made such a dramatic change and recovered emotionally is left out altogether except for a fleeting mention of therapy at the Haywood House. By not including this it takes away from Andy’s character growth and makes it seem as though magically she’s okay after everything she went through.
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