Oct 13, 2011

Testify by Valerie Sherrard review

Testify coverIn some cases, you really don't want to be stabbed in the front. Shana is a loyal & best friend to Carrie. While the girls have a larger group of about 6 girls who are all friends, Carrie & Shana are the closest to one another. They do typical goofy girl stuff & push the boundaries on rules just enough to test their limits. Carrie is always the instigator, but Shana rarely has a problem going along with Carrie's plans. They do anything for each other out of loyalty, friendship & support. It wouldn't be that big a deal for Carrie to ask Shana to testify that her step father molested her. Only, it didn't happen & Shana knows it. Thinking she's doing the right thing, Shana agrees. She testifies that she saw Carrie's step father grope Carrie & he goes to prison, but it's only the beginning.

With the trial over, all the girls just want to get back to how things used to be before the whole mess; only something's off about their patterns & behavior. When drama unfolds that threatens to tear the group apart, it's up to Shana to get to the bottom of everything. When she gets there, she's so stunned & scared by what she finds. No one is safe as long as there are secrets to cover up & Shana must figure out a way to protect those she cares for and herself.

This was an absolute roller coaster of a book. There are sharp turns that you don't see coming combined with stomach-dropping surprises that will leave you gaping in astonishment. For a 144 page book, Testify packs a serious wallop. Shana is such a caring & trusting character that you can't help but empathize with her situation. She really does think that she is doing the right thing, something that is often over-stressed to young adults, by helping to "put away the bad guy"when in reality she has been duped.

What's truly astonishing about this book are the implications it makes. Who knows how many innocent people have been convicted because of sympathy witnesses & who knows how many teenagers are constantly (both knowingly & unknowingly) being controlled by someone they care about so much. The behavior patterns of these malevolent individuals are obvious if you're looking for them, but seem innocuous to those unaware.

For such a short book, Testify really gives you a lot to think about & I think it gives a startling glimpse at how "good kids go bad." The twist at the end is along the same lines of some of Ellen Hopkins' books. If you've gotten a chance to read this one, what did you think? If you haven't gotten a chance, I highly recommend at least giving it a look. I bet you could read it in the bookstore, it's that engrossing.

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