About the Book:
Almost from age one, Tiara has been a star of the
American Child Beauty Circuit. When she grows too old to win anymore, her
mother leaves Texas and returns to Vancouver. Tiara is
twelve years old, she refuses to attend school or interact with other children,
becoming more and more reclusive. Her relationship with her mother deteriorates
and they become estranged.
One morning, three years later, Tiara’s mother is
shocked to find her daughter the subject of a big story on the morning news. A
violent assault has just occurred at a local coffee shop and it seems Tiara is
the perpetrator. The brutal and seemingly unprovoked assault lands her in the
Burnaby Secure Youth Centre for a court ordered psychological assessment.
When the police investigate the incident they begin to
slowly unravel her confused and dark childhood. They discover her history as a
child beauty queen star, managed by her mother and aunt while living in Texas. It also becomes
increasingly apparent that explicit photos of Tiara were taken and posted to
many internet sites The photos seem to capture Tiara over many years and lead
the detectives to wonder whether she is the victim rather than the perpetrator.
Tiara herself cannot provide any insight. She has
buried the memories of her childhood deep in her sub-consciousness, and even if
she could remember, she is deeply traumatized and unresponsive. Any attempts by
the authorities to probe result in more withdrawal and unexplained expressions
of grief and anger.
Carefully guided by the adolescent forensic
psychiatrist in charge at the Secure Youth Centre, she begins to write a
journal, anchoring her memories on her birthdays as she remembers them. At the
same time, her mother tries to explain the past from her own perspective,
insisting she only wanted the best for her daughter and refusing to acknowledge
any responsibility at all for what Tiara has experienced. It becomes very
obvious that Tiara has been greatly damaged by her childhood.
Slowly the two story-lines merge until they arrive at
the moment when mother and daughter recall the trauma that eventually leads to
the attack. Tiara begins to understand the horrific nature of her abnormal
childhood. She allows the psychiatrist to read the notes in her journal,
subconsciously guiding him toward the truth.
But the truth is not clear cut. Tiara is guilty of
aggravated assault. Even the detectives can't find motive to explain her
action, which means the judicial system has no choice but to keep her locked up
as a dangerous juvenile criminal. Tiara remembers much of her past but she has
no idea why she stabbed a strange woman in a coffee shop. Her mental isolation
doesn't allow her to confront this important question. Only the psychiatrist,
with the assistance of the detectives who keep digging in the past, might be
able to unlock the secret buried in her soul.
And they are successful, but in a way they never
expected. When Tia remembers all that had happened and what had motivated her
to attack another human being, the final answer, the solution to the puzzle,
surprises them all.
Reading the book I had a ball of emotions but never the less I liked the book and it was an on the edge of your seat type of read. I can't really go into much without giving the book itself and plot away but I enjoyed the always guessing of which way the book was going to go. I love thrillers to begin with and when I got the chance to read this book I jumped on it! It may be a trigger to some people who may have gone through sexual assaults of their own so I just want to put that out there. I highly enjoyed the book though and give it 4 penguins!
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