5 disturbing stars

** spoiler alert ** This book is gut-twisting by page 4. Emotionally charged and heartbreaking but so gripping that you have no choice but to stay with her til the end.
The stark reality of Kyla/Alice’s situation made me want to cry and made me nauseated all at once. What this girl must endure to protect those she loves from harm is unforgettable. The glimmer of hope towards the end, for escape and reunion, kept me going and I was really hoping she would get to be with her family again… but then happy endings are almost always only in books and real life is rarely like that.
The author gave us a real ending that, although tinged with happiness because she is finally free, is also horribly sad because of the way she achieved that freedom.
I really feel for Jake in the end. The unsuspecting hero of the tale clearly has demons of his own to deal with and now he has to live with the knowledge that, yes he took out the bad guy… but, sadly also took Kyla/Alice. Will he see it as setting the living dead girl free or be riddled with guilt? What fate awaits him? He should be praised for rescuing the girl by removing Ray from the streets but reality would see him slammed in a prison for the remainder of his youth.
A small book with a very big powerful punch to the gut! This book will stay with me a while. Who needs to create fantastical monsters to haunt us when there are real, living breathing ones walking the streets right now?
Being a YA book I worry that some that read this may be just a tad too young for the subject matter… it doesn’t need to be so graphic to create a disturbing and brutally real scene.