Review: "Razorblade Kisses" by R.L. Griffin

Note: This ebook was provided by Victory Editing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Emery Shaw's life was irrevocably changed when she was just thirteen, damaged forever by the unthinkable acts of lasciviousness by someone who was supposed to take care of and protect her. When she was sixteen, Emery Shaw disappeared and Emily Sanders took her place...then Emma Simpson...and finally Ericka Smith. Once she decided to run, there was no turning back, even if it meant having to leave behind the most important person in her life. Each time she felt they were getting too close to finding her, she kept moving, changing her name, becoming someone else, but it was turning out to be more difficult the minute she would meet that one person who would make her feel and break through her walls.

Emery has longed to escape the hell her privileged life has become. When she's arrested and meets Rachel Helms, she shares her heartbreaking secret with this complete stranger, perhaps an easier thing to do than sharing with someone she knows. There is no judgment; instead, Rachel provides Emery with an alternative to having to suffer much longer. She and her boyfriend help facilitate Emery's escape and Emery pushes through with it, being forced to abandon her younger sister Ashley but believing that she needs to go for her own sanity and self-preservation. She begins to create a new life for herself as Emily Sanders and meets Rachel's cousin, Noah Reed, with whom Emily will be living for the meantime.

Noah and Emery become good friends but months later, they begin to explore their feelings for one another. Emery finds herself opening up to him to a certain degree but still not divulging her painful secrets. They're both falling in love with each other but when Emery fears that she's been found by the one she's run from, she takes off with a simple note to Noah but not much of an explanation. She changes her identity once again and tries to start over by becoming an advocate for children coming from abusive homes. She then meets Tim Flemming, a police officer, and after a period of time, becomes involved with him. When Rachel brings her devastating news, Emery's life is shattered and she plans her revenge.

This was a book that centered on a very serious subject matter--abuse. The main character, Emery Shaw, felt she had no choice but to live with what that abuse until a new friend tells her she should leave, an option I'm sure Emery herself considered time and again. The one thing that was always stopping her was her younger sister Ashley. Still, she DID leave her life and Ashley behind, and this can be seen as her finally doing something to save herself. Had she stayed, she could have ended up taking her own life or that of her abuser. Either way, she wouldn't have been able to take care of Ashley. Being separated may have put some distance between them but at least she managed to keep tabs on her sister by way of Rachel.

I find myself torn with Emery's actions, mainly because she did have options. Running away is simply that: leaving without solving the problem that caused her to run. Even if she felt her mother wouldn't listen or believe her, she could have informed another adult or the authorities. It may have felt as if she was finally free from the abuse after leaving but she was constantly looking over her shoulder and having to change her identity and keeping secrets from the men she fell in love basically kept her trapped. Rachel was obviously just trying to be a good friend but then her own father was a lawyer and he was in a position to provide better advice for Emery. There's a time to keep secrets and there's a time to speak up.

In hindsight, Emery must have realized that her decision to run wasn't exactly the best choice, especially after what it cost her in the end, but I do understand that, in her desperation, she felt that was the only choice she had. I'm trying to see the situation from all angles, and after all is said and done, it's way too easy to say we would have done things differently. Whatever my personal feelings are toward Emery's actions, the bottom line is that Razorblade Kisses is a story that needed to be told. It is at times raw and intense, but there are also moments of simple joys and peace. This is not just a story about survival but one of redemption and self-atonement. This is a must-read and gets a much deserved five stars. ♥

Date read: 12 February 2015

Learn more about author R.L. Griffin here.

Grab a copy of Razorblade Kisses on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.


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