Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, Cut Me Free by J.R. Johansson.

I don't really know what I expected with this book, but what I got was so much more horrific and terrifying.

The story follows 17-year-old Charlotte who has recently escaped her abusive parents. Her little brother, Sam, however, wasn't as lucky. His death was one of the reasons that pushed Charlotte to try to escape. Now she is living in a bigger city with a new identity thanks to Cam, a teen who has connections in the Mafia, and a new home. One day while she is out, she spots a little girl with bruises and burn marks, being practically dragged by a man. Unable to ignore the obvious signs of abuse, Charlotte decides she needs to save the girl. However, soon Charlotte begins to find threatening packages left in her apartment addressed to her old name, Piper and has no idea who is leaving them.

Firstly, this was an extremely difficult book to read. Charlotte has nightmares and flashbacks to her life with her parents and they are pretty intense. Child abuse is horrific in any instance, but reading it firsthand through Charlotte was nauseating. Then, when Charlotte finds the little girl, your already broken heart absolutely shatters.

I'm not sure that Charlotte's abuse is discussed as much as it could have been. It definitely has a major impact on her life, but sometimes I forgot about it and had to remind myself that this wasn't just a thriller, that there was more to the story.

Johansson does a spectacular job of writing this story. She is able to evoke real emotions in the reader, not just sadness and anger but also terror. I don't think I can recall any book where I was genuinely afraid but there were a couple of scenes in this book that made me terrified. This book deals with something that a lot of books don't, it's not a widely discussed topic and Johansson is able to portray all the emotions the characters are going through and makes the reader feel them as well.

This book also has a bit of a thriller component, with the packages in the apartment. I had no idea what was going on with that, I mean I had a few guesses as to who was behind it but I would never have guessed it. I think Johansson does the thriller aspects well and I think that she wove it well with the story of abuse.

I didn't love the romance elements between Cam and Charlotte. I felt like the story didn't need it - and I didn't really want it. I went for this book for the horror/thriller not the romance. That being said, I am glad there was a little light in this story, especially for Charlotte who has been through so much already. Cam is sweet and wants to help Charlotte but there were a couple times where he just wouldn't mind his own business!

I don't know if I connected with Charlotte as well as I could have or would have if this was a different book. I think that's okay though because this isn't the kind of book where you need to like the character or connect with the character to understand what they are going through. I don't think I could tell you who Charlotte really is, but I feel like that's not really a problem in this book because there is so much else to worry about.

Overall, I read it in 2 hours and highly recommend if you are looking for a scary read!