Someone Else’s Daughter: A gripping emotional page-turner with a twist
We should have protected her…
They’d left their daughter with us, their only child, and we hadn’t protected her. That was all they would see when they looked at us—that we had failed them.
I count down the days until we can leave the city behind and return to the beach house. Where James and Katie can roam free over the dunes, like they did as children, and Peter will swap his 6 a.m. starts for the stacks of fluffy pancakes he lovingly serves up for our family breakfasts. These sun-drenched, golden days, just the four of us, are what I hold on to all year long.
But this summer Katie’s best friend will be coming with us. I tell myself the girls will have fun together, pushing aside the doubts I have about this uninvited guest. Isa. With her corn-silk hair and luminous skin, who manages to overshadow my daughter at every turn. Who has been dumped on us by her own parents, too caught up in their petty dramas to see what is right in front of them.
Because I can see it. There is something dangerous about Isa. Something more than a carefree girl, testing boundaries as she approaches adulthood. She threatens to cast storm clouds across my beach house days. I feel as powerless to stop her as I would in the face of a hurricane.
By the end of the summer, Isa will be dead. And I will have to face her mother. I don’t know if I will be able to find the words. How can I begin to explain that she never really knew her daughter at all?
A gripping story of the darkness than lurks beneath the surface of the most picture-perfect lives and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love. Fans of Big Little Lies, Kerry Fisher and Diane Chamberlain will be held totally in thrall by this emotional, twisty read.
Love the twists! You won’t see it coming!
I was hooked since the beginning and couldn’t put it down! It was very well written, and Jennifer Harvey perfectly portrayed how each of the individuals thought and felt. The characters were well developed, and I felt like I could understand them, relate to them in some ways, and even felt like I knew them on a personal level. The emphasis on emotions is part of what made the book so great! Jennifer Harvey’s ability to bring the characters to life, and let you feel what they felt, is incredible! I think other readers would especially enjoy this book because many people would be able to relate to the “what if” scenario. What if you allowed one of your child’s friends to go somewhere with you, and the results were tragic?
This book goes back and forth, primarily between the mother (Louise) and daughter (Katie); however, they clearly express how the other characters felt and acted so that you are able to get a full perspective from all of the characters.
Plot: Louise, her husband, their teenage son and daughter (James and Katie) have plans for their summer vacation trip to a beach house. They’ve been going there for so many summers that Katie has even become friends with some of the others kids who go there too (although she secretly wishes one of her male friends was more than just a friend). It’s the perfect escape from theIr hectic lifestyles in NYC. Isa, Katie’s questionable friend, will be joining them this summer for the month because Isa’s parents feel a desperate need to have a dramatic “second honeymoon” as an attempt to save their marriage, and ask if Isa can go with Katie’s family. Despite Louise’s Initial hesitations, she agrees to allow Isa come because the mothers and daughters have known each other since the girls were toddlers.
Isa is the girl who you love, and also the girl who you love to hate. Katie has known Isa since they were young, and hopes that the vacation will allow them to become close again. Isa’s charm and wit keeps Katie hanging on and feeling desperate to be best friends again. She feels hurt over their on again, off again status as best friends, and genuinely hopes they’ll be able to reconnect and put the past behind them. She knows Isa can inflict just as much hurt and pain as she can kindness and care though.
From the moment they get to the beach house Katie is instantly put into the position of making a sacrifice in order to please Isa. Despite being inwardly upset, she does though because she misses her best friend. Regardless of the special meaning of it being a gift from Louise, Katie readily hands it over to Isa. Katie’s on the edge of doing nearly anything to have the shared closeness that they used to have. Katie feels her own self worth is less than Isa’s because how can anyone compare to Isa? Isa knows how cruel she is sometime, and considers it a powerful ability to gain whatever she wants at all costs. Isa doesn’t care who gets hurt in the wake of her actions. Katie has just accepted that that’s just how Isa is, and is determined to not take it personally. It seems as if their friendship is as good as ever before, but are all of their feelings and actions real or just for show? Is the friendship more one sided now, and if so why? The problems of their past are in the past now, so have both girls truly gotten over it? What caused such a huge rift in their friendship to begin with? Isa acts as if nothing bad ever happened between the two of them, and Katie certainly doesn’t talk about the thing they dont talk about, so maybe things have improved. Isa was eager and excited about spending the month with them, and Katie was desperately hopeful. Is Isa really as bad as Katie makes her out to be, or is Katie secretly more vindictive than she lets on?
After Isa’s tragic death, how well did anyone really know her? Louise, Katie’s mom, says she saw a completely different side to Isa throughout their vacation and that she wasn’t as sweet and innocent as she previously thought. What was it that alerted her to the Isa she had not known before? Is she trying to hide something that happened over the vacation? Isa’s parents, understandably grief stricken at the death of their only child, claim that Isa was a completely different girl than who Louise says she had come to know. Do they really believe that, or was their more to the story that they should have told Louise about before going on the trip? James, Katie’s younger teenage brother, seemed slightly infatuated with Isa, and has fallen apart as a result of her death. Is he covering something up, or is he just struggling with the reality of losing someone he cared for? He babbles nonsense and no one can understand how deep his grief is or why he is blaming himself as much as he is. Katie is lost in her own grief, and calls Isa’s phone with regularity just to be able to hear her voice again on her voicemail, but she’s doing her best trying to hold herself together. Is she really the girl who had seemed so sincere about being best friends again, or is there another side of her that no one else has seen? Louise feels constant guilt that she didn’t keep Isa safe, and can hardly see past It. Is she reveling in her self inflicted guilt over not having paid more attention to Isa, or over something she did? What is it that caused Katie and Isa to have such a falling out of their friendship to begin with, and why are they so adamant not to talk about it - to anyone?
Thank you Jennifer Harvey, Bookouture, and Netgalley for allowing me the privilege of reading Someone Else’s Daughter. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinions.