Cover Image: Girl A

Girl A

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This had so much potential for me, but it just misses the mark. 
The premise was intriguing and I love a dark, disturbing thriller. It started so well, but I began to lose track of the story, with all the different children being focussed on, and the time lapses. I would have much preferred a clearer timeline, with dates for example, to distinguish how far apart events happened. It just seemed so disjointed to me. 
A good thriller, but could have been great.
Was this review helpful?
Lex Gracie is a successful New York based lawyer, back in the Uk to finalise a deal. However, that’s just a cover story. She is really back to deal with the aftermath of her mother’s death in prison; Lex was once known as Girl A, the girl who escaped from the horrific house when her parents had imprisoned and starved her and her six siblings. 
This is a superb debut novel. Once the scene is set Abigail Dean introduces the other siblings in the following chapters. She is the master of the slow reveal, a little more of what happened to them is described in each chapter, the torture and mind control they were subjected to is truly gut wrenching. 
Abigail Dean has written a real page turner, I couldn’t put it down and it will stay with me for some time. You wonder how people can behave as her parents did and how could the children survive in the house and manage to cope with life after they were released? Yet it is believable and clearly well researched. This will be one of my books of the year.  
Thank you #netgalley and #harperfiction for allowing me to review this ARC
Was this review helpful?
Lex Gracie doesn’t want to think about her family. She doesn’t want to think about growing up in her parents’ House of Horrors. And she doesn’t want to think about her identity as Girl A: the girl who escaped.

When her mother dies in prison and leaves Lex and her siblings the family home, she can’t run from her past any longer. Together with her sister, Evie, Lex intends to turn the House of Horrors into a force for good. But first she must come to terms with her six siblings – and with the childhood they shared.

Wow! What an intense read! This is a powerful and heart wrenching story of the childhood abuse and trauma experienced by Lex and her siblings.

The entire book is so well written. As we read on, we are introduced to each of the siblings and presented with how the past horrors and events have shaped their present, each of these instances are described so realistically. The choice of Lex as the main narrator is amazing as it makes the entire journey even more emotional and powerful.

Even though it is a dark and disturbing read, I was engaged right till the end and I loved it. Highly Recommended!

Thank You NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for this ARC!
Was this review helpful?
Now this will get you out of any book slump you may have found yourself in over the past few months! I absolutely loved every minute of it.

Breathtaking, compelling, realistic, emotive, spellbinding, intense and dark... I was utterly engrossed from the very beginning until the very end.

Based on a House of Horrors you could quite easily believe this was a true story. Girl A (the one that escaped) relives her story in such a way you feel like you are walking in her shoes and feeling every raw emotion she goes through.

Yhe book will take you on a journey of the sixi children that were removed from the House of Horrors. A deeply disturbing story of neglect, abuse, religious cults and grief.

I honestly cant rate this any higher and dont want to give too much away as its definitely a book you need to pick up, hide away in a corner and devour yourself! It's a story that will sit with you for a long time after.

Huge thanks to netgalley and Harper Collins UK for the ARC.
Was this review helpful?
Girl A is published today and has got to be one of the most anticipated releases of 2021. I went into it trying not to have too much of a high expectation. But seriously the hype is real for this one. I can’t believe that this is a debut! 

It is a heart wrenching read about childhood trauma all stemming from the horrific lives these children went through at the hands of their own parents. It is not an easy read at all, it is bleak, moving and horrifying. Yet it certainly is a page turner and it kept me up reading way past my bedtime! 

Lex or Girl A as she is known is the main protagonist and you learn a bit more about each one of her siblings in each new chapter. You find that they all suffer with some kind of psychological damage which would be no surprise after what they went through. The author does such a fantastic job of exploring the complex relationships between the siblings and does it in a sensitive manner. The abuse that is hinted at through Lex’s eyes is not dwelled upon too much by the author which I must admit I was thankful for as I think I would have been a complete wreck reading it. 

I would describe the story as more of a drama than a thriller or crime novel. It is all about family trying to survive a cruel life as children to then the realities of adulthood. How they deal with life after being known as survivors from the renowned House of Horrors is fascinating to read about.

A haunting, powerful story which I am certain is going to be a bestseller this year. Abigail Dean is a true talent to look out for. Thank you to the publisher for the e-arc.
Was this review helpful?
This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuously.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
Was this review helpful?
I had heard a lot of great things about this debut novel from Abigail Dean so was very excited to receive an ARC and for me it lived up to all the hype. A very well written and thought provoking thriller of a sensitive subject which will stay with me for a long time. A definite hit for 2021. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
Was this review helpful?
Girl A is an emotional and at times hard read.
Moors Wood Road, one house, seven children and one set of cruel, twisted parents. This book is about Alex Gracie, who is girl A. Her brothers and sisters also have time dedicated to them in this book but the basis of the story is girl A.
Lex is the girl that managed to escape she has struggled to get over her childhood but all this comes clashing down when she is told her mother has died in prison and names her the executor. 
I loved how this book was interspersed with the present and flashbacks of the past to really help you realise why this poor family really is why it is. I set off not really gelling to Lex but as her story was laid out and the trauma she had suffered and the way she was trying to battle against being the closed off person she was really swayed my mind and the progress she made had me in awe of her.
I would like to thank Netgalley and HarperCollins UK HarperFiction for this ARC I received in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Girl A by Abigail Dean was the fifth book I read in 2021 and it ricocheted straight onto my books of the year list; it is that good. It is dark, deceptive and an utterly delicious read which tells the story of Lex, a high-flying lawyer working in New York whose troubled childhood was spent in a remote house in England with her siblings and parents. Her dad, as a result of a number of unsuccessful business ventures and set backs, descended into depression and became mentally unwell, eventually turning the house into a prison where his children were contained under his rule.

Lex is the titular Girl A, the woman who as a child escaped the house where she and her siblings were held. She has returned to England as her mother has died whilst in prison and has left Lex and her siblings the house and a small amount of money. Lex wants to use the money and the house for something good, but is unable to do so without the agreement of each of her siblings.

Lex, a workaholic high flying over-achiever has built walls around her to cope with the horror of her past. She is brittle and unlikeable but I defy you to meet a more compelling narrator. I couldn’t stop reading about her, she is brilliantly drawn and utterly addictive, even though the subject matter was at times difficult and unnerving. Told in retrospect, we are offered glimpses of Lex’s childhood, of her father’s enigmatic personality and of the life that Lex and her siblings led. Although we are never privy to her father’s thoughts and he is only ever viewed through the lens of Lex I felt like I really knew him. He is a chilling and terrifying man whose mere presence causes a sharp tingle of fear down the spine.

It is a cleverly constructed novel packed full with both tension and emotion. As Lex navigates the present her memories of the past provide context for her present day behaviour which is at times confusing and bewildering. It is a book about abuse, but it isn’t graphic. In fact, the horror comes from the things that are alluded to where my mind filled in the gaps. It is also a book about the after effects of abuse and its long term impact on the siblings with chapters about each of them in turn shining a light on how they have recovered and how their past has affected them. It makes for gripping reading as each piece of the puzzle is put together and we come to know the rest of the family.

I can’t quite believe that this accomplished book is a debut, it is absolutely flipping fantastic! Yes it is dark, but I found small moments of hope within the pages. It also features sharp characterisation, wonderful storytelling and just really great writing. If you’re looking for a book to get immersed in and something which will absorb you then Girl A could be the book for you.
Was this review helpful?
Lex Gracie, aka Girl A, and her siblings survived an abusive family life; a manically religious and increasingly bitter father and a passive mother who never intervened in the worsening conditions her children found themselves in.

Girl A is an impressive debut from Abigail Dean. It interweaves the story of Lex’s present day life with that of her upbringing which keeps the reader engrossed as we look to find out both what happened and the impact it had on Lex and her siblings. The book is well written and each of the siblings is fully realised; the dynamics between them both then and now are also compelling. I didn’t fully connect with Lex and perhaps this was why I wasn’t quite as moved as a lot of other reviewers seem to have been by this book but would agree that it deserves to do well and will likely be one of the most talked about books of 2021.
Was this review helpful?
Lex Gracie didn't have the upbringing of a normal childhood neither did any of her six siblings. 
Known only has Girl A growing up her close bound with her sister Evie is paramount. 
Lex does manage to escape her family home but has to leave Evie behind.
After her parents deaths all of the siblings inherited the family home known as the house of horrors. 
Lex wants to turn the old home into something good but first she most come to terms with what happened there and all face her past and her siblings.
Was this review helpful?
This is not an easy read due to the nature of the story however I must admit that I’ve read more graphic accounts of child abuse.  I liked the split of timelines from current to the past which explained in a drip drip fashion what had occurred in the past.  None of the characters were particularly likeable and I felt the descriptions and motivations of the parents was a bit hazy. I found it difficult to believe that in modern Britain these atrocities could occur - particularly when the children had an aunt and cousins.  I know most reviewers have given 5 stars but for me this was only a 3 star read.
Was this review helpful?
What a debut!! I could not put this book down and was invested in Girl A, Lex, from the first page. I had to keep reassuring myself that this was a work of fiction, a testament to the writing. Every description, every occurrence depicted was so believable. Lex's experiences as the daughter of a 'religious' man who could not draw people to his 'church' and who lost his grip on reality and then her life when she finally escaped are so realistic as to make this book exciting, frightening, depressing and compulsive.
I cannot wait to read what this author writes next!
Very many thanks to Netgalley/Abigail Dean/Harper Collins UK for a digital copy of this title. All opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
This is a debut book by author Abigail Dean and Girl A is an absolute spellbinding book to begin your writing career. It is a story of children in a family who are abused by their parents and when Girl A escapes, the world is riveted by the tales of horror and speculation of events that happened in the family house. 
The father is dead when the authorities go into the house and it is then only the mother who faces a trial and a  prison sentence. The children are kept separate and they are all placed in adopted homes and they are not told where the other children are going to live or their new names.
The years pass and the mother dies and leaves the family home and £20,000 to Girl A, for her to decide what to do with the home and money.
Girl a or Alexa is a successor lawyer and she has friends Olivia and Christopher from university. She now has to contact her sisters and brothers to get them to agree for the home to become a community centre and the money, plus grants to be used to renovate the old family home.
The storyline is horrible, very moving at times, all of the characters bear the scars of the abuse they suffered and not all of them moved onto make successful and meaningful happy lives.
The book is very powerful and doesn’t leave the reader in any doubt that the  children were badly damaged and left to die of starvation by the parents.
Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
Utterly breathtaking.

Lex - Girl A - and her siblings are survivors of years-long monstrous abuse meted out by their parents. When their mother dies in prison, Lex is forced to face the horror she endured, and how it has stained her life.

Girl A is the sort of book that comes along once in a decade (if you're lucky). It's the sort of book people will be talking about, still, in a decade's time (and beyond). Shocking and beautiful, and with a heartbreaking twist, it's not an easy read - harrowing would be closer to the truth. The fictional northern town, nestled on the edge of a bleak encroaching moor, lends the tale an elegiac, orange-tinted Polaroid feel; the children's isolation - and their escape into the realms of imagination - is claustrophobic, desperate. There is a strange correlation with a particular kind of perfectly normal, perfectly average family life - the trips to Blackpool, the school days - so that the horror resonates all the more starkly in contrast to our own memories of childhood.

But yes, I said it's beautiful, and it is, as surprising as that may sound. The writing is lyrical, shimmering and haunting, and deeply insightful, too. Each character is immaculately crafted, their voices distinct and devastating; the adult children, living with the ripple effect of abuse and each coping (or not) with it in their very different ways, are particularly affecting. And while there's no neat, happy ending, it's redemptive in its way, quietly so, reservedly so, but still.

Girl A, while undoubtedly disturbing, is also intelligent, elegant and unforgettable. It will be huge, and deservedly so.

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I have to admit this book gave me goosebumps it is well written and tells of the horrors in the family home of Lex Grace/Girl A.I don't want to say too much about this book as it would ruin it for readers but i can highly recommend it to readers.BRILLIANT 5*
Was this review helpful?
This was probably one of my most anticipated books on my TBR list for 2021, I kept it to read close to publication date as I wanted it to be a 2021 top read and it has not let me down. Seeing it marketed as a book for fans of Room and My Dark Vanessa, I had huge expectations. 

The story unfolds through flashbacks and retellings of the lived experiences of the children who were held in the Gracie House of Horrors. The reader gets to see elements of all the children's experiences and how some of them vary greatly. I adored how well we got to see into their lives with tiny details building the atmosphere and totally enveloping you into their devastatingly harsh world. The world-building was so well done that at times you felt you were reading about an archaic story rather than a modern family being help captive in sheer depravity. 

I also found the characters were so well created and suited to the storyline. At times it's quite difficult to warm to the main character Lex as she is so closed off and almost wooden, but after those experiences, what else would be expected?

Sometimes books of this genre end quite abruptly at the point that the survivors escape and the reader is left bereft and lost wondering how their lives will pan out and out will their lives be effected, Girl A gives the reader full insight into just how well people can adapt and equally just how horrid people can become.
Another aspect other similar books tend to miss at times is how the captor gets to that point of behaving in such a horrid manner and I loved that we saw Lex's fathers slow demise played out.

This wasn't the easiest book to read with very strong and prominent triggers of child abuse and neglect but 100% is already on the cards to be one of my top reads of 2021.
Was this review helpful?
At the beginning I thought I had made a mistake.  A fictional misery-memoir with gory details is not my choice of reading but very quickly I realised that this is a gripping, well-structured, power-house of well-written fiction that is difficult to read in parts but ultimately hopeful.  Girl A is the narrator, the oldest of the seven siblings who were kept prisoner in their house by their increasingly delusional and controlling father and a mother who was completely under his spell.  It is an horrific tale of abuse and also of neglect by not only the parents but the local community, extended family, school and health service.  Nobody looked further than they needed to, nobody raised any alarms, the children had to survive in any way that they could. Girl A grows up into a complex young woman but she survives and that is an achievement in itself.
Was this review helpful?
Girl A tells the story of Alexandra (Lex) Gracie and her siblings and the horrors they endured at the hands of their parents growing up. It was Lex (Girl A as she was later named) who escaped and rescued her siblings. 

The story begins with Lex's mother dying in prison and naming Lex as the executor of her will. The siblings have inherited the family home at Moor Woods Road and Lex in discussion with her sister Evie decides that they should turn it into something good, a community centre. To do this she needs to get the backing of all her siblings and thus the story begins.

The story is told in flashbacks of memories and the author does an amazing job of creating an emotional connection for the readers without being distasteful or gruesome. The plot moves along divulging details of what the children enduring under their parent's care and the effects this had on their adult lives. We see their flaws and their vulnerability in the way they interact with the world.

This is a harrowing story and what made it even more so was that this can and did happen. The book moves back and forth through time letting the reader see into the lives of these children and how they went from an ordinary family into captives in their own home. We see the demise of the father through Lex's memories. 

This was a gripping read and one I found difficult to put down. It's dark and disturbing and fans of psychological thrillers that enjoy a good twist will devour this. It was beautifully written and a story I will remember for quite some time. It is heart-wrenching in places and a deeply emotional read.
Was this review helpful?
I think I may be the odd one out with this book, I must admit I bought into the hype and all the fabulous reviews, don’t get me wrong it was well written, but I found the characters difficult to like, and the plot underwhelming. Although this may have been down to my frame of mind at the time. I think it’s one that you will need to read for yourself and form your own opinion.
Was this review helpful?