Author: Brooke Beyfuss
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Jul. 19, 2022
Source: Sourcebooks Landmark
Book Rating: 8.5/10
An emotionally wrought debut novel perfect for book clubs about a girl who escapes from a cult after a deadly fire destroys her family’s compound, only to be haunted by That Night as she tries to build a new life for herself.
A fire. Her escape. And the realization her entire life has been a lie.
When nineteen-year-old Avery awakens to flames consuming her family’s remote compound, she knows it’s her only chance to escape her father’s grueling survival training, bizarre rules, and gruesome punishments. She and her brother Cole flee the grounds for the first time in their lives, suddenly homeless in a world they know nothing about. After months of hiding out, they are arrested for shoplifting and a shocking discovery is made—Avery and Cole were kidnapped fifteen years earlier, stolen by cult leaders they knew as Mom and Dad.
Cole is immediately returned to his birth family, leaving Avery alone and desperate. She is uncertain if her “parents” survived the fire and is terrified to find out. The loss of Cole and the trauma of her former life threaten to undo her, but when the police investigation reveals there may be more survivors, Avery must uncover the truth about the fire to truly be free.
Suspenseful, emotionally charged, and deeply thought-provoking, After We Were Stolen delves into the idea of family—those we’re born into and those we make—resilience, and the lengths a cult survivor will go to finally be free of her painful past. Brooke Beyfuss’s powerful debut novel sparkles with heart, grit, and extraordinary characters who will stay with you long after the last page.
Intense, heart-wrenching, and tragic!
After We Were Stolen is a gripping, emotional mystery that sweeps you away to Kansas and into the life of Avery, a nineteen-year-old young woman who, after waking to a fire engulfing her family’s strict, abusive, survivalist compound, endeavours to find safety and start a new life with her younger brother, Cole as far away as possible until a shoplifting arrest turns her whole life upside down and changes everything she thought she knew about her past, her family, and who she really is.
The writing is raw and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, confused, and scarred. And the plot is a haunting tale of life, loss, secrets, resilience, sexual assault, abuse, childhood trauma, shocking revelations, self-identification, and redemption.
Overall, After We Were Stolen is a powerful, moving, beautiful debut by Beyfuss that takes you on a roller coaster ride of the emotional and psychological effects of long-term manipulation, control, indoctrination, and deviant ideologies and reminds us that even after suffering the most unimaginable cruelty and wickedness humanity still has an innate ability to hope and want to love again.
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Thank you Sourcebooks Landmark for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.