Those Girls by Chevy Stevens, narrated by Jorjeana Marie, Emily Woo Zeller, and Nicol Zanzarella, is a dark novel of abuse and its consequences. The Campbell sisters — Jess, Courtney, and Dani — have lived a downtrodden life in Western Canada, and they try to stay out of the way of their abusive father. Forced to flee, these teenage girls find a lot more than a life on the run, and the experience they have in small town changes their lives forever. Stevens has created story that seems sensational and the events a bit convenient, but at its heart there is a strong bond between the sisters that is integral to the story.
There are a lot of frustrating moments in this book, with the girls doing things the reader knows are a bad idea. Readers will want to slap them silly. Graphic violence against women can be found in these pages, and a lot of it is tough to take. Much of the story is told from the point of view of the youngest sister, Jess, who like a true innocent and naive girl, follows her older sisters blindly at times. She is naive until the worst happens to her, and she has to think like her older sisters to help break them free. Once free, these girls begin their lives under new names, and readers will think that their story of survival is over … but it isn’t. Fast-forward 18 years, and the story continues with Skylar, the daughter of one of the girls.
There is a lot of detail in these girls’ movements, particularly as they are going through the abandoned buildings and other locations. In many ways, the pace of the thriller is bogged down by a lot of these details. It feels as though the tension is being dragged out on purpose, particularly in the latter half of the novel when Skylar is telling the story. The older girls are clearly still dealing with PTSD from the trauma, but they also are incredibly naive. Some of the plot twists are predictable, and the things that the attackers continue to get away with is a little too convenient.
Those Girls by Chevy Stevens, narrated by Jorjeana Marie, Emily Woo Zeller, and Nicol Zanzarella, is a tough read for the graphic violence and the stupidity of the characters, particularly Skylar given what she knows happened to her mother. This is a little too predictable and sensationalized, but the relationship between the sisters is strong and will hold readers’ interest. It’s just too bad that Dani’s voice is not heard until the final chapters.
About the Author:
Chevy Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still calls the island home. For most of her adult life she worked in sales, first as a rep for a giftware company and then as a Realtor. At open houses, waiting between potential buyers, she spent hours scaring herself with thoughts of horrible things that could happen to her. Her most terrifying scenario, which began with being abducted, was the inspiration for STILL MISSING. After six months Chevy sold her house and left real estate so she could finish the book.
Chevy enjoys writing thrillers that allow her to blend her interest in family dynamics with her love of the west coast lifestyle. When she’s not working on her next book, she’s camping and canoeing with her husband and daughter in the local mountains.