The description and the cover made me eager to participate in this blog tour. If it is one genre I love is a psychological thriller, especially one where everyone acts suspiciously. And, Saving Sophie definitely has many suspicious characters and a story that just keeps getting darker as the story progress. The Finch's family is still reeling from a traumatic event from two years prior which left Sophie's mother Karen unable to leave the house without having a panic attack. And, how can she help her daughter when she can't even leave the house? Sophie herself is trying to figure out what really happened the night she can't remember, could it be that she is in danger or is she in any way involved with the death of another young girl?
I love books with short intensive chapters that make you just read one more chapter, and then one more and suddenly you have finished half the book. Saving Sophie is a very good, engrossing thriller and I love the feeling of not knowing what's going on and I did suspect pretty much everyone in this book, well except Karen, despite the feeling that she may have some secrets herself.
I liked the different POV throughout the book. For instance, besides Karen and Sophie, we also got to follow the cops that are working on the dead girl's case. They do, however, not have a very central role in this book. It's really Karen and Sophie's story. I felt some frustration with Sophie, that she kept so much to herself. But, she is just seventeen so keeping things from her parents are not really that surprising. And, I got a feeling that they have a problem communicating with each other in the Finch family.
The ending surprised me, it was way darker than I was expecting. It's perhaps bad to like depressing and dark endings, but I like books that dare to take a step of the road and show that not everything will end well.
Read an excerpt from the book
The dog’s barking alerted her to the late-night visitors before the doorbell sounded.
Muffled voices drifted in as Mike opened the front door. Then another voice boomed out. Karen jumped up from the sofa, grabbed the dog and ran out into the hallway. She wasn’t expecting the sight that greeted her.
Wedged between two police officers was a bedraggled mess of a girl.
‘What’s happened?’ She rushed forward, dropping Bailey to the floor. The barking turned to growling; she ignored it, her attention fully on her daughter. Tears had left tracks down her over-made-up face, her lipstick had bled and feathered, spreading red beyond her mouth.
‘She’s not in any trouble, we had a duty of care to bring her home.’ Talking continued, but now in full panic mode, Karen switched off. What on earth has happened to her?
Sophie suddenly looked younger than her seventeen years; her little girl, barely able to stand, leaning against the porch wall as she attempted to move her mouth and produce coherent words. She failed.
Karen heard snippets of what the officers were saying as she fussed over Sophie – ‘. . . found wandering on her own along the main road in town . . .’ She dabbed at Sophie’s damp face with the cuff of her sleeve, ‘. . . all dressed in black . . . not safe . . .’ She took Sophie by the arms and looked into her black, wide-pupilled eyes. How much has she drunk?
The three of them remained standing in the porch, the door flung open – the police officers, tall, official, on the threshold. The neighbours’ curtains twitched. With shaking hands, Karen attempted to steady Sophie, whose black patent high heels slipped on the tiled floor. She didn’t look at Mike, only vaguely aware of him thanking the officers.
‘Why were you on your own?’ Karen shouted. ‘Have they left you again?’ She didn’t care about the police officers, the neighbours, or Mike’s warning words coming at her from her left; they were a blur.
Sophie stared blankly ahead, her eyes unfamiliar. The bright blue, lively eyes Karen knew so well were dark; void of emotion. Empty of anything. But a mother could see the scared young girl behind them.
This wasn’t the fall out of too much alcohol.
With the police officers gone, shocked voices erupted in the privacy of the living room.
‘What do you think you were doing, Sophie?’ Mike shouted, inches from her pale face. ‘You stink of alcohol.’ He recoiled.
‘I don’t know what she was doing . . .’ Sophie looked up, her eyes fighting to focus.
‘What who was doing, love?’ Karen crouched beside Sophie, her words calmer now, softer than those spewing from Mike’s mouth.
‘I don’t know who she is.’ Her speech clumsy; the syllables tripping from her lips didn’t appear to be linked with the form her mouth was taking. ‘How do I know why Amy wanted to be Amy?’
‘Have you taken something, Sophie?’ Mike moved forwards again, grabbing her by the arm, forcing her into a sitting position on the sagging, cream sofa.
‘No. No . . .’
‘Mike! She’s too drunk to know what you’re even saying.’ Karen searched his face for that hint of a memory, knowing they had both, in their time, been in a similar state. All teenagers got drunk, didn’t they?
‘So that makes it all right, does it? Karen – look at her. It’s ten thirty, she’s only been out of the house since six.’ He stood and paced the room. Then he slumped on the two-seater sofa opposite, rubbing at his face, running both hands roughly through his greying hair. ‘Anything could’ve happened to you, anything. Do you understand, Sophie?’ His words spat out, his face contorted – an ugly expression, one Karen had observed before.
The laughter came out in short bursts. Unnatural. Not Sophie’s light, contagious laugh: this one sinister, unnerving.
‘You think this is funny?’ Mike got to his feet, launching towards Sophie – half sitting, half hunching, her head lolled, practically on her chest, as if it were too heavy to keep upright. Perched on the edge of the sofa, it would only take one more forward motion and she’d be on the floor.
‘Please.’ Karen thrust the palm of her hand towards him. With her eyes narrowed, she willed him to leave the room; she wanted to deal with this in the way she thought best and his anger was a hindrance. She dragged her gaze from his. ‘Sophie, love, were you with Amy?’
‘What does it matter she wanted to be Amy?’ More of the same spilled from her. It was pointless; getting any sense from her seemed unlikely.
Karen took deep breaths to try to control the anger germinating deep in her gut. Sophie’s friends had clearly left her. It wasn’t the first time either – only three months ago Mike had been dragged out of bed to pick Sophie up at midnight because she’d been stranded in Torquay with no money when her so-called friends had gone off. The usual ‘it’s just teenagers these days’ didn’t wash, it was plain selfish – left it wide open for things like this to happen.
‘I need the loo.’ Sophie propelled herself forwards. ‘I need a wee,’ she drawled.
‘I’ll take you.’ Karen supported her, one arm around her waist, the other outstretched to aid her own balance as they made their way towards the downstairs cloakroom. They looked like a pair of children tied together, about to take part in the three-legged race. Mike, red-faced, strode the length of the lounge and back.
Karen waited outside the door with her head leant against it. This was going to be a long night. She heard the flush, then a clatter inside.
‘You all right, Sophie?’
More giggling, then Sophie emerged, half sliding, half falling through the door. Together they made their way back to the lounge. Back to Mike, still pacing big angry strides.
‘I need to get her to bed.’
‘You don’t say.’ He averted his eyes from them.
Karen manoeuvred Sophie to face the stairs.
‘Can you get her a glass of water, please?’
Mike huffed, before disappearing into the kitchen. Karen took Sophie up the stairs, struggling to keep control of the rubbery body; the laughing-one-minute, crying-the-next girl who, only a few hours ago, had left the house looking smart and beautiful in her new black dress. Karen scrunched up her eyes. She couldn’t cry now. Not yet. This wasn’t her Sophie. Not the Sophie who looked after her friends: picked them up when they fell, let them cry on her shoulder, took them home if they were drunk.
Why had they left her in this state? Or had Sophie left them? And she’d been rattling on about Amy; she’d seemed distressed about her. Karen’s chest tightened.
Where was Amy?