Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Book Review: Armadillos by P K Lynch

Aggie is fifteen, a ‘sub’ from a ‘sub’ family, one of Texas’ downtrodden. Her father and brother enact that ‘sub’-ness on her, week in, week out. She has only the vaguest notion that there is something wrong with the abuse she endures and instead dreams of the outside world.
And then one day, Aggie walks out. But, like the armadillos that flourish in Texas’ barren landscape, she is a survivor.
In her escape, she gravitates to those who are just as maltreated as her. They offer Aggie the sense of family, albeit a thoroughly dysfunctional one, that she’s been searching for. But when she gets embroiled in a crisis involving stolen money, Aggie soon realises there are some problems you can’t run away from.
Thanks to Legend Press for the advanced reading copy.

From the outset, Aggie's story is heartbreaking and shocking, but told in a matter-of-fact manner rather than being melodramatic. Brought up to believe that her family's behaviour is normal, Aggie knows she doesn't like it, and leaves.

Armadillos is a tough story but easy to read, written beautifully, with Aggie's Texan drawl in my head from the beginning. Despite her sheltered upbringing, she proves to be an intelligent kid who knows how to get what she wants. She doesn't like conning people, but it's a means to an end for her.

Then she meets a girl called Freak, and is introduced to a new 'family', all with their own problems. 

It's a brilliant tale of survival, of friendship and self-discovery. The words flow naturally on the page, drawing us in to Aggie's world of hurt and pain, and her relationships with the larger than life yet utterly believable supporting characters.

I really did enjoy reading this book, and highly recommend it.

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