In her debut novel Ali Land explores how much our parents have the ability to shape us:
Milly's mother was a Serial Killer but Milly still loves her, but she knew the only way to stop her and save other children was to turn her in to the police. This allows Milly to have a fresh start, with a new identity, try to rewrite her past as well as a new foster family. But anyone can see that Milly has secrets and she has to fight to keep them. As Milly's mother's trial comes closer and closer Milly does not know if she will be able to testify against her mother, but more than anything she wants to keep the foster family that she was placed with. Milly begins to wonder how much of an influence her mother has had over her, how much of it has shaped her and whether she is really destined to just become her mother one day. As things become more and more intense in Milly's life she is going to show exactly the type of person she is; Good or Bad.
Wow, this book is insane and intense. Dark, twisted and disturbing on so many levels, but I enjoyed it all. What made this even more impressive is this is Land's debut novel. Honestly I do not know how she will be able to top this novel. This had so many positives in the execution and the way of psychology and the whole idea of nature vs nurture aspect played out that I think it will be hard to top this book. I think Land will have to go in to a completely different direction with another book as anything similar would not hit the mark.
This book did have some writing flaws but I think that because it was told by Milly there were times when the dialogue was sloppy on purpose as Milly tries to adapt not only to her new posh surroundings and the people she comes in contact with, but it also expressed how different Milly was from all of these other people. Milly is such an intriguing character on her own I understand why Land chose not to have other points of view in this book; Milly was more than enough.
I'm not really sure I'm completely happy with the ending, more so when it ended not how it ended. I wanted more, to know what was going to happen next with everyone (I don't want to give too much away of what I wanted more of as that would give some major things away in the book). Nonetheless, I was able to figure out one of the major plot lines or twist near the end but I think that Land makes it easy to find or realize on purpose, as you as the reader secretly hope that you are wrong. That said it is great that you are right as Land is okay with showing the dark side of human nature.
This was a great debut novel by Land that has you questioning how much your upbringing can shape you and really explores some of the darker sides of human nature. I look forward to seeing what Land comes up with next.