ARC Book Review: Cut Me Free by J.R. Johansson

Cut Me Free CoverBook: Cut Me Free by J.R. Johansson

Expected Publication is January 27, 2015 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux|Expected Number Of Pages: 219

Where I Got It: netgalley.com

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary/Thriller/Mystery

Check out Cut Me Free on goodreads

Goodreads Summary: 

Seventeen-year-old Charlotte barely escaped from her abusive parents. Her little brother, Sam, wasn’t as lucky. Now she’s trying to begin the new life she always dreamed of for them, but never thought she’d have to experience alone. She’s hired a techie-genius with a knack for forgery to remove the last ties to her old life. But while she can erase her former identity, she can’t rid herself of the memories. And her troubled history won’t let her ignore the little girl she sees one day in the park. The girl with the bruises and burn marks.

That’s when Charlotte begins to receive the messages. Threatening notes left in her apartment–without a trace of entry. And they’re addressed to Piper, her old name. As the messages grow in frequency, she doesn’t just need to uncover who is leaving them; she needs to stop whoever it is before anyone else she loves ends up dead.

What I Thought:

I’m not sure what to think about Cut Me Free.  Based on the summary, I was expecting something dark.  It is YA, so I figured something dark but not too dark.

And yet, the book was more about her romance with the guy helping her erase her old life than it was with Charlotte dealing with everything that happened.  It wasn’t explored as much as I thought or hoped.  And this is usually something I don’t notice.  Even when I do, I’m usually willing to overlook because it tends to not bug me.  But this time?  It didn’t sit right. What we did see of her old life…her new life didn’t make a lot of sense to me.  I get why she wanted to forget, but I think I would have preferred for it to stay with her a little more.  I know it’s something people deal with in many different, and that Charlotte’s story may represent quite a few people.  But the summary made it seem like it was more important than it really was.  I felt like the story was going to be more about her past, and it wasn’t.  The lack of details about her past made it hard to care about her future.

I wish I didn’t need her backstory, but this was a case where I really needed it.  It just made me feel distanced and removed from what was going on in her life.  She also seemed to adapt very well for someone who was basically imprisoned in her own home as a child.  Honestly, for someone who was never properly socialized, she should have been a lot more naive and not as street smart as she was in the book.  All in all, she did not act how I thought someone who was been through what she has been through should act.

As a thriller, it’s your typical YA thriller.  Parts of it sort of surprised me, but if you want a decent YA thriller/mystery, you’d probably like this book.

As for the girl that Charlotte takes in, I get why she took her in, and that she recognized that herself in this girl, but it felt like such an afterthought.  Especially the part where you learn the girl was a victim of human trafficking.  It felt very glossed over and in there just to be in there.  Yes, that girl went through some horrible things and that Charlotte sees herself in that girl, wanting to protect her the way she couldn’t protect her brother.  But something about it didn’t sit right with me at all.

Let’s Rate It: 

Cut Me Free didn’t completely work for me.  I couldn’t relate or even sympathize with Charlotte and I felt like the book described in the summary was a very different book than the one I read.  It’s not for me, but something about this book was sort of compelling.  Cut Me Free gets 2 stars.

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