My Review | Girl A

Photo shows the book cover of Girl A by Abigail Dean - Photo by Peri McKinnis - Peri Reads -

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, the eldest sister who freed her older brother and four younger siblings. It’s been easy enough to avoid her parents–her father never made it out of the House of Horrors he created, and her mother spent the rest of her life behind bars. But 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 siblings – and with the childhood they shared.

I had first heard of this book through GoodReads and marked it down immediately in my TBR list. When Book of the Month had it available to snag I, of course, took the opportunity. The story is divided through chapters that are dedicated to each sibling that was found after Girl A. The main plot focuses on our “Girl A” Alexandra, who coined the name when she was the first to escape from her horribly abusive family and now a fully grown adult must deal with a will that was given to her by a mother she never visited in prison. The story goes back and fourth from present and past so we get an in depth view of the tragic childhood that Lex lived through to an adult who must deal with having a deed to a house she never wants to go back to.

“You can endure an awful lot when you know that you'll be fed at the end of it.”

Throughout her journey of grief and her new home, Lex is joined with her youngest sister, Evie, defined as Girl C in the media, as the two must find a way to bring their siblings together as a way to finally close a traumatic part of their lives. But that’s easier said than done. As we get to know what her siblings are doing now we get glimpses of what they were like during their childhood. After the horrifying ordeal each child was whisked away from one another, adopted into different families in hopes that they could grow past the trauma they endured. I enjoyed the realness behind each sibling, how they didn’t jump to being apart of this ordeal, how Lex was practically pulling teeth to get her own siblings to try and talk to her. Or even try and find where they were moved. Lex seems to be the glue that is holding this case together, that without her who knows how long her father’s abuse would last. The way they all retract away from Lex as a way to cope with their own mental health is an interesting touch that Abigail Dean made.

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I’d say my only real complaint from the book would be that it does feel a bit slow. Now there’s nothing wrong with a good build up but there are moments that feel like nothing is happening. In Dean’s defense these moments were added to explain Lex’s past but they weren’t super interesting. Now I did enjoy the callbacks to the past, showing us Lex’s parents and the full on abuse that they were dealing with. The abuse wasn’t obvious and they built up over the years instead of it being blatantly there. Which was a nice detail showing that Lex’s parents weren’t always evil. But they were sadly capable of it. 

“That was the problem with coming home: you also had to come to the self which resided there.”

I really enjoyed the storyline as a whole especially the ending. There was a twist added that I really wasn’t expecting and honestly took me out for a second. But the way Lex and her siblings are able to come together despite the tragedy they faced growing up was heart warming to see and honestly tied up the story quite well. I loved Dean’s humanization of the characters and I liked how nothing was glamorized. It was all real. We’ve all heard of these kinds of horrific stories from the news or the internet and we wonder how something like this could have happened. It’s nice to see a different perspective from this story and how the trauma doesn’t go away as soon as it’s over. I’d highly recommend reading this book especially if you’re interested in true crime!






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Hey! I’m Peri McKinnis

Peri McKinnis of Peri Reads

I’m a creative, I’m a dreamer, and I’m an Aries. I’ll read any book with enough convincing, I enjoy weird movies, and I’m a caffeine fiend. From the day that I brought my first book catalog home from school I knew that books were going to have a special place in my heart. Now I want to spread that love here, to talk about the books that made us cry, fall in love, and scorn because we couldn’t finish them.