Cover Image: Girl A

Girl A

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Member Reviews

Lex Gracie is Girl A. At 15, she escaped from the family home where she and her siblings were imprisoned and secured herself a new start. This dual timeline story covers the events that led up to this escape and the immediate aftermath, alongside a present timeline where Lex, a lawyer, is still coming to terms with her past and dealing with her mother’s death. 

It’s a compelling and absorbing read that I found difficult to put down. It’s not easy to read about the harrowing experience of the children, but they are always just detailed enough without becoming voyeuristic. Lex seems a strong character, though the damage is clearly seen. I didn’t feel the other siblings were quite as carefully constructed and I felt they were missing some of Lex’s realism. 

This is a well written book where the storyline gets under your skin and makes you want to keep reading. You so badly want happy endings for everyone, even when you can see it’s not likely. I will look for more books by this author! Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my copy of this book.
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A compelling, twisty and sometimes harrowing thriller. Enjoyable for some, but ultimately not really to my taste.
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Lex Gracie was known as Girl A. She escaped from the House of Horrors & in doing so saved her siblings from the horrific abuse they had suffered at the hands of their parents & in particular their father. Years on, the survivors have made lives for themselves although obviously never entirely being able to forget the things they went through. When their mother dies in prison & appoints Lex as her executor it falls to her  & her siblings to decide what to do with the house & a sum of money- can they try & turn the horrors into something good.

This was no easy read. The experiences of Lex & co were dreadful & it was no surprise that none of them emerged unscathed. I managed to follow the switches of time line fairly well although I found the chapters far too long & felt that it might have been better to have broken up the narrative a bit more. I somehow missed the hype for this book, which was probably a good thing as I didn't read it with any misconceptions. It's not a book that I can say I enjoyed, but it is one I won't forget in a hurry. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
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Thank you for my copy of this book to review. 

I was completely absorbed in this book. I enjoyed how the story was told from different timelines and I was grateful that the abuse was never fully described…you could definitely imagine it though but at least you didn’t have to see it in writing. 

I do feel that Ethans level of involvement was never fully revealed and the reasons why he was treated differently to the other children. 

I have already recommended this book to others and will look for more by this author in the future.
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This is one of those rare books that totally lives up to the hype surrounding it.

From the very start it was and absorbing read, the pages flew by.

It is not an enjoyable read, there is no joy, but it is totally compelling.

The book is written from the point of view of Lex Gracie, Girl A, who grew up in a true house of horrors.  The graphic descriptions of how she and her siblings were treated make difficult reading, and the subject is horrendous but very well handled by the author.  Each chapter is about a different sibling, again written from Lex’s stance.  The throwbacks in each chapter give an insight to why each child is like they have become.

I would have liked to know just how involved Ethan was in the household.  He was obviously treated differently, but that did not stop the abuse shown towards him.  As an adult he was extremely unpleasant, needing his own way, a result of his upbringing no doubt, but to what extent was his involvement?

Throughout the book we are led to believe that Lex is the strong one, but perhaps she was the most damaged of all?

This is a book I would strongly recommend, though with a warning!  Congratulations to Abigail Dean for an outstanding first book.

Thank you NetGalley.
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This is a really great book, I was sad when it ended as I was enjoying the characters so much. Really well written with the multiple timelines adding to the story rather than confusing it. The violence is nicely done, never fully described, thus avoiding any gratuitous scenes. Would make a great movie!
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Thanks to the publishers and Net Galley for my free e-copy.

This story follows Lex as the older sister of a group of siblings and takes a look back on their traumatic and troubling childhood. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was at times hard and harrowing to read but this made it all the more real. 
It covered topics of child abuse really well. Each chapter introduced you to another sibling and flipped between the past and the present. 

I didn't want to put the book down. I enjoyed the writing style and found I just wanted to carry on reading. 

Although such a sad story the way it was told very well. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for future reads from this author
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A very clever, absorbing and thought provoking read. This book often had me wondering if it was based in reality which for me is the mark of a very good psychological thriller.
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Actual rating 2.5/5 stars. Trigger warnings for child abuse, child neglect, suicide, and PTSD.

Lex Gracie was once only known as Girl A. She was the eldest sibling who grew up in, what the media termed, the House of Horrors. She suffered horrific abuse at the hands of her parents and is still suffering from the trauma many years later. 

This was such a harrowing read! The book was focused mostly in the present but it continued increasingly lengthy passages providing insights to Lex's childhood. These past segments were very hard to read as they contained details of the horrifying treatment the children endured. There were a few specific pages towards the end of the book that made me nauseous with all it revealed and I doubt I have ever read anything as truly horrifying as what it contained.

However, despite acknowledging the powerful yet traumatising storyline, I also don't feel I ever got anything out of my time with it asides from sadness. The sections set in the present day showed how Lex and her siblings were still struggling with their pasts. I felt sensitively towards this but also don't truly understand the purpose.
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Girl A, Abigail Dean 3.5/5

Lex doesn’t want to talk about her childhood, but it is infamous to everyone else. The House of Horrors. Now an adult dealing with the death of her Mother Lex is forced to look back into the past and finally face the things she had buried away. 

This is a story that is woefully undersold. What I expected to be a thriller actually became a far cleverer and complex tale of what happens to the victims of famous and horrific abuse cases after the cameras leave and the press stop printing stories. Whilst this focuses on one family member we see a scope of those affected and how they have grown and adapted to life after a traumatic domestic situation, including the police officer who investigated and the psychologist who assessed. Hauntingly clever this will give you far more than you expect.

Thanks to #NetGalley and #HarperCollins for my copy of this one.
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I was initially going to give this book four stars but then decided on five as I still kept thinking about it after I had finished it.
I am glad the story started in the present day and told the tragic tale of the children in flashbacks. It would have just been too harrowing to have started in the past. Al least this way we knew there was a happier ending somewhere along the line.
This book was thought provoking and has a very original storyline. The book is well written and  told from the perspective of Lex , one of the children, but with chapters covering the other children. It moved at a good pace and at times was hard to put down. My only slight criticism was that it wasn't always easy to know when we moved from present to past until you read on a little more.
Definitely a book that stays with you.
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Well what can I say? Girl A is one of those books that stays with you days or even weeks after completing it. 

Alexandra (Lex) is back in England following her Mother's death. They didn't have a standard Mother/daughter relationship & the whole situation is very difficult. Memories come sweeping back, particularly when Lex realises that she needs to make contact with her siblings. They have a past which both draws them together and pushes them apart.

It is hard to say much about this book without giving out spoilers. I really don't want to spoil this  as I do think it is best read & understood as the story unfolds. I struggled to put it down so maybe set aside a few hours.

This is a very powerful book. The characters are diverse and well developed. Each was very believable in their own way. It is a deep book - one in which you are going to have to devote emotions. Possibly best not read in public.

All I can say is that this is a book well worth reading & I am very glad that I read it.

I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.
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I can see why "Girl A" by Abigail Dean is being billed as the thriller of the year.  It is both powerful and heart-breaking at the same time.  The story of Lex's family is creepy but dealt with a huge sensitivity and referred to in snippets, interspersed with the current story of her mother's estate and a middle story of Lex and her siblings' rehabilitation into society.  I can't go into too much detail but this is definitely a story that will stick with you for some time to come.
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Description 🔖

Lex Gracie didn’t have the childhood that most people take for granted. She grew up in the house of horrors. As an adult she doesn’t want to think about her past and her identity as girl A; the eldest daughter who escaped and freed her older brother and four younger siblings. Their father never made it out of the House of Horrors but her mother did and went straight to prison.

Lex is forced to think about all of this when her mother dies and the house is left to her and her siblings. Lex and her sister Evie have plans for what to do with the house of horrors, but first, Lex must confront her past as well as her present.

General Thoughts 🤔

This was certainly a change from the last bunch of books that I’ve read. I had read the blurb for this book so I knew it was going to be a difficult read, but I don’t think I was ready for just how dark it was going to be. It was spine chillingly bleak, sinister and uncomfortable to read.

I had such an overwhelming sense of sadness throughout this book. I’d like to say that I put it down with at least a feeling of hope but I didn’t, I still feel sad and I have a feeling this is going to play on my mind for some time. I’m not usually so sensitive about books like this; I love true crime and I always have to know all of the details. As a work of fiction, I am impressed at how hard this book has hit me.

Characters 👭👬👫

Lex is the main character in the book and I could have cried for her the entire way through the book. I think that she had put up an emotional barrier at such a young age, she didn’t know how to remove it or even know that it was there. Although successful professionally in her adult life, she was obviously and understandably suffering emotionally but in a stoic and guarded kind of way. My heart completely shattered for girl A, right until the very end.

I thought that Ethan was a really interesting character and was written fantastically. He was the oldest child and I had so many questions about him. Nothing was explicitly said about the full extent of his involvement in the house of horrors as kids but it was implied from early on. Likewise, nothing was explicitly said about the kind of adult he had turned out to be, but I think he had grown up having learnt how to be “man” from his father.

Writing Style ✍️

I can’t believe that this is a debut book. It was written so so so so well. The best way I can describe the tone of the book is numb. It was written from Lex’s perspective and every sentence felt detached which married perfectly with how I think Lex felt as a child and an adult.

Each chapter was dedicated to a child of the Gracie family and flipped between the past and the present. They were quite lengthy chapters so it gave me a good understanding of both the individual character and the relationship that Lex had with them as children and as adults. I liked that the mother and father did not have a chapter in the book; I like to think it was because they were undeserving.

Conclusion & Scoring 🎖️

Girl A was absolutely breathtaking. I can’t shake off the disturbed feeling that I had whilst reading every single word. If you’re planning on reading this book (which you should) prepare to embrace the most intense and uncomfortable feelings; it’s worth it.
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Girl A by Abigail Dean

I am Lex Gracie: but they call me Girl A .
I grew up with my family on the moors.
I escaped when I was fifteen years old.

Due to the subject matter , I don't think I can say I enjoyed reading this book , it is at times graphic , horrifying and at times makes grime reading , but it is very very well wrote . 
You really feel for Lex Gracie , and every child that has gone through this.
Applause to the author for writing this novel with sensitivity and the awful , gritty truth of what is happening in the world .
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I picked this up when I was craving a thriller last week and the first 90 pages had me absorbed, I flew through them! 

I’m honestly not sure what to make of this one book pals, yes the tension was fantastic, the writing brilliant and some parts were just truly grim to read but, due to all the hype, I was expecting a big old twist that just never seemed to arrive...

I would recommend this one, possibly more for people who enjoy character studies or even true crime as it felt a little like watching an episode of one of those shows where people who were there tell you what horrors happened and then it cuts to flash backs. I will stop rambling now!
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Even just thinking back to this book, I get an ache in my chest. It’s a bleak and traumatic story and one that’s undeniably difficult to read. Some obvious trigger warnings apply, including physical and sexual abuse, and I don’t recommend that you read this if you aren’t prepared to have your soul absolutely crushed.

So many of us love true crime nowadays and will happily binge-watch series about abusers and killers. It’s understandable why we are fascinated by stories like this as they are so far from our own experiences that it’s easy to consider them as mere entertainment. But it’s easy to become desensitized by such inexcusable crimes, especially when the limelight is placed on the perpetrator.

And sadly, the victims are often forgotten about or dismissed in light of the evil person capable of committing such an act. So I think it’s brilliant that Dean has given this victim a voice. Seeing the story from Lex’s view, not only do we get to see how the abuse in her house came to be her normality, but we also get to see how all six siblings begin [or fail] to recover from their shared upbringing with different types of support.

While Girl A is an uncomfortable read, I think Dean handles the story brilliantly. Drawing inspiration from a number of real-life cases, from serial killers Fred and Rosemary West to the more recent case of David and Louise Turpin, although not a true story in itself, the harsh reality of Lex’s experiences really hits hard.

But the bleakness of the story definitely feels justified. Dean isn’t using a story of abuse just to shock readers, but instead creates an effective narrative that dives deep into the mind of a victim who is coming to terms with a life she has managed to escape from.

It’s such a powerful story and I was absolutely hooked to Lex’s narration. Although there is a lot of what some may see as unnecessary detail around the more mundane parts of her life and the story does just from present to past, I enjoyed the messiness of Lex’s recollection.

The revelation towards the end had me in absolute tears, as well, which was another painful blow in an already heart-breaking story.

This book will undoubtedly leave scars, but I have such admiration for Abigail Dean for writing it.
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Unfortunately this just wasn't for me. It was an upsetting subject but it felt like it was written at a disconnect, I found it difficult to get into the flow of reading and I almost regret persevering as I struggled to finish it.

This has been chosen as the Waterstones book for October, so I won't be leaving my review on the website. I will also recommend it, as I'm sure that there are people who will enjoy it.
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