1 journaler for this copy...
The book has a VERY bleak premise: a woman wakes up in hospital after suffering severe burns from the fire she apparently set to try and kill her drug-addict/pusher boyfriend - but the fire killed a neighbor child instead, and she's convicted of murder and sent to prison. Where she attempts suicide by starvation, which - as long as she's of sound mind - is something the prison staff must permit her to do. This all happens within the first couple of chapters, so... where to go from there? Yeah... Turns out there's room for doubt as to what happened on the day of the fire, and there's also a strong hint that our heroine has some extrasensory talent, though its nature doesn't become clear for a while.
Other complications include massive abuse within the prison, including black market dealing of all sorts of things, including drugs, and the horrific treatment of prisoners by a "queen bee" prisoner with an alliance with a corrupt guard and a completely psychopathic nature. At first, our heroine Jess has nothing to do with all this - she's in isolation while she's on her starvation plan. But she finds herself choosing to live after all, and at that point her goals cross those of the monstrous Grace and her troubled "muscle" Lizzie. And she's in touch with the ghost of the child who died in the fire - or is that who it really is?
The opening of the novel was quite strong, and very unusual - but I found myself losing interest as the plot developed. The whole thing felt overblown, and even the conclusion (which I admit I skimmed to after a certain point) didn't really do anything for me. Not sure if I just wasn't in the mood for the way the story turned, or if the book really was overwritten... Perhaps someone else will like it more than I did. (I should add that I was very fond of Jess' defense attorney, whom she treated pretty horribly what with being racked with guilt and unwilling to try and appeal her sentence; he mixed a lot of very practical lawyer-esque information and advice with some fairly gutsy support.)
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