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{May 29, 2012}   {ARC Review} Shackled by Angela Carling

From Goodreads: After shy, quiet Lucy and her family move from their small hometown in Minnesota to Seattle, Washington, she is surprised when Ryan, the most popular boy at school asks her out. Soon, she is swept up in a whirlwind romance and her naïve and trusting nature allows her to fall head over heels in love with her too-good-to-be suitor. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself enraptured by the excitement of her new relationship, leaving her blinded to the warning signs of danger ahead. Can her fairy tale romance last, or will she find that her prince charming is more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

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Carling writes a compelling novel that had me on pins and needles. Lucy is a very naive teenager, as many teenagers are, and her story is extremely compelling—one I think all females should read, especially as abuse in relationships comes in all forms and crosses all age barriers. This isn’t just a book for teens, but for all women.

I found myself, on many an occasion, vocally chiding the characters, especially Lucy, as the novel progressed. Unfortunately, Lucy tends to make poor decision after poor decision, so blinded by the “love” she and Ryan share that she gives into his every demand without much thought. Now, while some of the situations in the novel seem far-fetched, the more I think about them, the more likely I think they are to actually happen. While I am able to sit here and say that Lucy makes some extremely stupid decisions, I am removed from the context and, quite honestly, might have made some of the same choices had I been in her shoes, and I’m a grown woman.

I liked the back and forth narration within this novel, giving readers a glimpse into the mind of both Ryan and Lucy, which helps explains some of the crazy choices they make. Though I admit that I am not a fan of Ryan in the least, obtaining his viewpoint did put the novel in perspective and explained a lot to me in terms of his actions, especially as I began to understand his home life. There are no excuses for what he does throughout the novel, but I loved that Carling gives her readers an inside glimpse, explaining where the possessiveness comes from and, even though I highly dislike Ryan and his father, I enjoyed gaining an understanding of them.

Overall, I really liked this novel, especially as it focuses on psychological abuse and not sexual abuse, which I wouldn’t have been able to handle.  This is a very creepy story, and it’s one everyone needs to hear.  Five stars. 

 I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, prior to its release on June 1, 2012.

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