I STOP SOMEWHERE
Written by TE Carter
Published by Feiwel and Friends, February 27, 2018
My star rating: 4.5 stars
Ellie Frias disappeared long before she vanished.
Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper.
But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her.
The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place. Find it on Goodreads
It took me a few days and many attempts to write this review. Every time I would attempt it, I would think I was doing well, and then I hit a wall. And I finally realized that it’s not possible for me to write a review of this book.
First of all – this is the most brutal and triggering book I’ve read that deals with abuse, rape and murder. Every aspect of it was just painful to read. But as I’m fortunate enough to not have personal experience with rape, or to even know anyone personally who has been a victim of such a horrible crime, I believe that my thoughts and opinions aren’t the ones you should be looking for. So this isn’t a typical review. This is more of my insight as to why I feel that this book is so important to read to get more insight on such a horrible crime.
As I said – this book is VERY triggering for rape. There are some detailed descriptions of attacks making this one of the most skin crawling books I’ve read. But, the topic of rape isn’t supposed to be comfortable. The reality of rape is awful, terrible, and disgusting. So to cover this topic properly, from start to finish, it’s going to be difficult. But the messages contained throughout are worth the discomfort. This is of course a story of Ellie and her life, but it’s more than just that. It’s an all encompassing look of what brought this girl to being a victim, what brought her attacker to this point, and the aftermath of these actions. This covers so much more than just the victim and attacker. This covered the parents, friends and families. This covered the justice system, the dynamic of a community, the media and social media, police, support systems, and SO much more!!! As insightful as it is to gain the perspective of the victim or the attacker, it was so amazing (and so well written) to see the situation from so many angles.
First we have the victims. The fact that there are girls out there that this is happening to and they’re afraid to tell the authorities or get help. Coming forward and admitting that this was done to them should be easy – instead they’re terrified that they won’t be taken seriously. In order for them to get justice they’re opening themselves up to be victimized yet again – accused that they wanted it, being told that there’s no way to prove their consent, and being called whores. There are even times when girls are coached to act a certain way, as if there’s a right and wrong way to be a victim. There are so many aspects that I never considered and it brought such a complicated reality to light.
Next we have the attackers. In this case, the attackers were seen as nice boys. A friend to the community and all together well rounded. Their father is a rich and influential man within the community, who is helping to rebuild the town when everything is otherwise falling apart. So when the accusations roll in, it’s automatically assumed that they can’t be real. This book highlights a case where the accused has pull within the community and financial backing to hire “the best” lawyers.
We also see this situation from a few other unique perspectives. Friends in school who saw these people in one way or another depending on their inner circles. Other parents in the community who sympathize with the situation or find themselves in a serious case of angry denial. Media and social media as they highlight those for and against. We also see the police and their involvement in the case – how their hands are tied, how they connect the dots, and how they sometimes can’t separate work and home life. This was such an all encompassing look at the situation to someone who has never experienced it. Someone like me. I feel like I can understand so much more now, not about just the victim and the attacker, but literally everyone involved. There was a scene where Ellie’s dad is talking to the lead investigator in the case and the scene had me bawling. Her writing has a way of transferring you straight to the heart of the scene and you feel it all personally. Here is the quote:
Two grown men sitting in an old office, one of them crying and the other turning red from his own shame, should be the picture the media uses. People should see what goes on. What it really feels like. Because once the trial starts and everyone’s watching, both men will stand resolved and stoic. But if they could see this, if they could see what this kind of darkness does to a person, maybe they’d feel it too. Maybe they wouldn’t make excuses anymore. Maybe they wouldn’t shrug it off, because, you know, these things happen.
So no, this book isn’t easy. And due to the nature of the topic I think everyone will gravitate toward something different. The smallest of things will hit different emotions with different people. But I really think it’s such an important read. It was haunting, so emotional, and heart wrenching. The writing was wonderful and successfully invoked emotions I wasn’t prepared for. She also successfully integrated the past and the present of the main character Ellie. Really, this book was so important! I hope that, if you’re looking for a hard hitting emotional read, you’ll consider I Stop Somewhere!
Until next time, happy reading!