Fifteen years after she escaped and freed her siblings from imprisonment and abuse by their parents, grown-up Lex, an attorney, must gather her siblings together to decide what to do with the "house of horrors" bequeathed to them by their recently deceased mother—bringing back memories no one wants to relive.
Girl A, Abigail Dean’s debut novel, shares a kinship with Emma Donoghue’s Room and Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones in its harrowing portrayal of trauma. Like those titles, Girl A is certain to rouse strong emotions. It is a haunting, powerful book, the mystery at its heart not who committed a crime, but how to carry on with life in its aftermath ... I kept wanting to read Girl A as a fairy tale or parable, to cauterize some of the suffering in its pages, but Dean resists that impulse at every turn, always rooting Lex’s story in the real. Dean looks squarely at the sort of parents who humiliate their children, or hit them, or deny them food, and the consequences of such monstrousness ... Dean tells this story with such nuance and humanity, you’re desperate to step into its pages. To help.
... a lovely, precision-tooled piece of kit ... Oddly, even though it deals in an obscenity, it’s actually easier to swallow than crime novels where women and children are casually slaughtered to prove how clever the police officer is. There is nothing casual about what happens here, and the victims are the heroes, in the most difficult, compromised ways imaginable. It’s sharp and refreshing to have a female heroine who doesn’t have to be sexy and feisty ... The writing is clean and compelling, the choices interesting and fully fleshed out. The flashbacks are upsetting but not torture porn ... It seems odd to describe such a book as profoundly entertaining, but stories have always dealt in gore and death and this is no exception. It’s terrific: finally, an Oxbridge graduate succeeding in doing something really, really well.