I am a big fan of Johansson ever since I first read the copy of Insomnia that I won. When I saw her post about how we could contact her publisher about possible getting an early e-galley of this title, Cut Me Free, I immediately had to contact and see about getting a copy. Then wouldn’t you know it, they made it available on Netgalley, and I think maybe on Edelweiss as well. This is a very intense story. A lot of emotion in it, and at times a bit tough to read.
The main character is 17 year old Piper. At least she thinks she’s 17, and she thinks her name is Piper, or it was. She starts the story by asking for a new identity, which gives her the name Charlotte. Charlotte is on the run from her abusive parents, that she called The Mother and The Father. And it is not just that she’s running to escape being abused. She doesn’t have to worry about that anymore, because she killed them when she was leaving. She finally couldn’t take it anymore when her younger brother Sam died because of them. So now she’s in a city and looking to disappear. Piper never went to school, but she tried her best to teach herself with books and things her grandmother had given her. Her grandmother tried to help her, until again Piper’s parents left her to die from her cancer.
Piper/Charlotte goes to someone she’s heard is the best for help. And he just happens to be a pretty attractive boy named Cam. Charlotte isn’t big on people touching her, she’s just barely used to being out in the open with lots of other people around. And she’s still very paranoid that maybe her father didn’t die, and maybe he is after her. Cam helps her out with a new identity, and he wants to help her even more. But she doesn’t want to let him. While she is out getting her new apartment, she sees a little girl that she can tell is dealing with abuse like she was. And in her head, the voice of Sam, tells her that she has to help the girl. But in helping the girl, Sanda, while she may be doing something to help quell her feelings of not being there to save Sam, she also may be letting another bad person into her life. She sets the apartment on fire after knocking the guy out, and while she assumes he dies in the fire, again like with her father, she doesn’t know for sure.
And the reason she thinks someone is still out there? She starts getting little notes, and someone tries to break into her apartment. The notes and other things left in her apartment seem to be only something a person from her past could leave because they are things that very few people would know. So Charlotte must learn to be her new self, take care of Sanda, and deal with Cam and his seemingly supportive personality that is intrigued by her.
This is a very intense read. The beginning was kind of hard to read, as you got to hear about some of the things Charlotte/Piper went through. How her life was, and then finding out what Sanda has gone through, and feeling so sorry for this little girl. You want so bad for Cam to be able to help her out, but it is easily understandable to see why Charlotte acts the way she does. Even though as I read I kept saying in my head, try to trust him, just try! This is a very realistic fiction with a very important theme, one that unfortunately is probably more true than any of us outside this type of a situation may know.
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