When Emmie Wilcox, the younger daughter of Norton and Vivian Wilcox, was seven, her father, frustrated with his older daughter Roxanne’s misbehavior and defiance, told her to get out. At seventeen, Roxy left. Norton forbid her name be mentioned again and refused to call the police to find her and force her to return. Nearly eight years later, Emmie learns that her sister has become a highpriced New York call girl, living in a fancy hotel only a dozen blocks away. She sets out to spy on her sister and thus sets off a series of events and adventures that nearly tear her fragile family apart.
I have to admit this one took me a bit to get in to. This is not a fast-paced book but instead is a window in to a family that is fundamentally flawed. We have a father that is incredibly rigid, a mother that is loving but unable to stand up to him, a daughter that cannot be mentioned and another daughter that is trying so hard to be the perfect child. I felt for Emmie as she tried to navigate being a teenager while living under the shadow of what Roxy did.
This is a book that explores the end of childhood innocence and also is everything truly perfect under the facade that money and status create. Emmie grows up in a hurry as tragedy strikes her immediate family but she has an amazingly strong backbone when her friendship is exposed to be a false one, her new romantic interest proves to be scum, and her classmates all show themselves to be unworthy of her time and attention. There is a boy who could have been found to be a great friend/something more but that was not explored as the story takes some unexpected turns instead. I liked seeing her realize that life isn’t pretty at times but what matters is family and your own heart.
Roxy comes across as extremely cold but as you get more glimpses of her I just felt incredible sadness for her. She didn’t have a childhood due to her inability to play the company line at home and had to grow up quickly in the world of high-priced escorting in New York. She’s forced to examine what truly is important when Emmie comes back in to her life and while she was cruel at times to the fragile teenager she actually did mean well and ultimately did the right thing by her.
I found this to be an interesting read even though it took a bit for me to warm up to it.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books for letting me have a chance to read this early in exchange for my honest review.