Lex Gracie is known as Girl A, a title offered to protect her anonymity after she and her siblings escape the House of Horrors her parents created. For years, the Gracies kept their children malnourished, bound, and locked in the home. After their escape, they are each adopted out and create new lives, to varying degrees of success. Lex has tried to distance herself as much as possible from her childhood, but she’s forced to face it when her mother dies in prison, leaving the house to Lex and her siblings.
While this novel pulls inspiration from true events, like the Turpin case, those stories primarily focus on the horrors endured and the parents who inflict them. Here, author Abigail Dean centers the story on the aftermath, particularly on the relationships between the siblings. We see how each child’s age in captivity and birth order resulted in wildly different life paths post-escape. All of the Gracie children yearn for normalcy and struggle to find it. As we follow Lex’s quest to turn her former home into something positive, we realize “healthy” may be in the eyes of the beholder. Maybe healthier is enough.
5 out of 5 stars.