Review | All the Promises We Break by Brenda Benny

0059 - Brenda Benny - All the Promises We Break

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Title | All the Promises We Break
Author | Brenda Benny
Genre | YA Contemporary
Pages | 250
Series | I hope so!
Publisher | Liddle Book Press
Release Date | October 16th, 2018

How do you move forward from a night that changes everything if you can’t even remember it? 

With high school finally over, and her long-awaited South American adventure just around the corner, Savannah expects to wind up in the arms of her first real love Chase at the end of tonight’s party.

Instead, she wakes up on the bathroom floor.
She knows she wasn’t alone.
Except she can’t remember any of it.

Chase is nowhere to be found. And the only one picking up the pieces is her outrageous and unpredictable best friend, Pete. Amidst the devastating emotional wreckage of sexual assault, Savannah struggles to fit together the jigsaw puzzle of before and after, while shielding the truth from everyone around her.

Will the worst night of her life keep Savannah from her dreams of first love and finding the road less travelled? 

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After reading such a heart-breaking book, it is hard to find the words to accurately describe the way that I feel. Right now, I am a mixture of disgust and anger, sympathy and sadness. My heart feels like it’s breaking. Brenda Benny has brought this truly haunting story into the world. It is a story that needs to be mainstream – that needs to be shared. It is a tale that is all too common among young women, and all too important to ignore. It is earth-shattering and honest and true and painful. Honest. Let’s start there – with the word, honesty.

It has been a very long time since a book has brought me to tears. Maybe I am toughening up, or maybe I no longer see the world the way I used to. Either way, this book made me cry and that’s okay. The book has such a very strong theme of sexual assault which I see too many people trying to discuss in modern society without knowing all the facts. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people are quick to blame the victim. This novel highlights how ‘slut-shaming’ destroys confidence and credibility. We label girls and tell them they cannot do something as it is ‘promiscuous’, or they cannot wear what they want as it ‘invites the wrong kind of attention’. We tell the victim that they deserve it – that they must give an act a name or it didn’t happen. We allow this kind of abuse to go unmentioned because it is easier to ignore than to discuss. We teach girls that they must change, when we should be teaching them that they are not to blame.

Savannah is strong. I have mentioned that a character may have been strong before, but for Savannah to experience what she did, and still manage to copy and act the way she did, she was strong. Do I wish her actions had of been different in the end? Yes. Do I understand that her actions were realistic and portray a large statistic of women who feel unable to talk? Yes. Do I judge Savannah for her actions ultimately? No. I admire her. I admire Brenda Benny. Luckily I have never had to experience anything like this in my life, other than groping when I was around thirteen. To think of the mindset such an experience would have put upon me, and the outcome of Savannah’s actions – it’s astounding how much inner strength she found.

The book was amazing. Perhaps one of the best pieces of fiction I have encountered this year. I wish I had read this sooner. The pacing of the story is quick and fluid, keeping the story relevant ad interesting while portraying two sides of the story at the same time. I needed to find out what was going to happen. I had to keep reading to the end. How many novels have had that effect on me this year? Two.

I would like to congratulate Brenda Benny on the achievement of publishing this book. A relevant story for teen girls to be reading, I would love to see this book circulated in mainstream media. It’s harrowing, it’s relevant and it has to be read. As a result, I will be giving this book five stars. I cannot fault it.

5 stars

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I was provided with a review copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my judgement or scoring of the story.

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