Razorblade Kisses by R.L. Griffin

Stories like this are difficult to read because of the nature of the subject matter and the reality of the fact that this scenario is all too real for far too many and for that alone they should come with a label that states “I demand your full attention” emblazoned on the front.

The story is Emery’s, an abused teen who finally finds the courage to escape, to run from her tormentor no matter the fact that despite the distance she puts between them and the measures that she takes to keep herself safe, she will never truly be free from him.

Abuse is like a scab that no matter how hard you try you never completely escape, it wears you like a coat on the coldest winter’s day, wrapping you in its clutches and refusing to let you go.

Emery’s life is far from one that is lived, it is existed in and she is a merely an unwilling participant in the events that fill her day.

She is an empty shell of a girl with little to look forward to and no friends as such to share her life with.

But her life changes when she meets Rachel, unfortunate circumstances mean that the girls are thrown together but this little firecracker is just the antidote to Emery’s malaise, and before she even realises what she has done, Emery has divulged her greatest secret.

It is true when Rachel says- sometimes there is just a “click” you meet someone and your soul knows that this person is meant to be in your life.

Rachel was Emery’s “click” and to be honest it is probably more than that – she was her saviour.

Because for the first time ever she has someone to confide in, someone who doesn’t  judge her, someone to believe not only what she is saying but in her as a person.

Rachel gave Emery the confidence to accept that despite her reticence, she has to save herself and walk away.

Emery has one worry, one threat that has always been held over her, that if she ever left or told, he would just transfer his attentions to her little sister Ashley but as it is at the moment what good is Emery to Ashley, fear is crippling her.

So with Rachel and her partner Derrick’s planning and assistance, she leaves in the dead of night and heads to Nashville to stay with Rachel’s cousin Noah.

New identity in hand, Emery is no more – Emily is her new name and she has to begin to learn that life will give her happiness if she lets it.

I liked Noah, it was obvious that he had feelings for her but he respected what he knew of her past and never pushed. The attraction was not one sided but how do you give love to someone when you know that you are living a lie and that at some point down the line you are likely to break their heart.

So when things get too much and it looks like she may not only have gotten too close to Noah but also that she might have been traced, she steals away in the night again, this time to Savannah.

So yet another new town and another new name, Emery arrives in Savannah and her new identity is that of Emma.

So with a new flat to live in and a new persona to live up to she sets about achieving that one thing that she wants more than anything, to be able to help kids.

Working in child protection, she finds that even helping just one kid is not easy when there are hundreds out there in desperate need of assistance.

But what she does find is someone that she truly loves, and that she knows loves her but again knowing that he deserves better than her deception, she struggles to balance what she wants and what she needs with what she should do.

Feeling unworthy yet again, she runs but this time it is her last run, her last escape because settling in Florida, she determines that she will just wait to die alone!

My heart was confused by the logic that she employed in many of the situations that she was in but I understood that she was as confused as I was, she felt that she was not worth loving and that as a liar she would never be worth loving. But Tim was an absolute gentleman who was prepared to worship the ground she walked on and despite what she said, I felt as if she truly was running scared  not of what she could do to him but of what she was doing to herself.

She had been damaged for so long she had no idea how to normal.

The final few chapters were intensely emotional and I cried at the pain she found herself experiencing yet again but I was proud of her resolve to finally put the situation right and even prouder of the step taken by her mother when she finally opened her eyes and saw the truth before her, too late I know but her sacrifice was the ultimate resolution and I think would cross the minds of many mothers if they found themselves in that position.

Emery’s story was rollercoaster where getting off was not an option. It covered every emotion humanly possible and that include joy in the end but it was a painful read to get to the happy ever after.

Subjects such as child abuse are difficult to comprehend but this author created a first class piece of work and a master class in how to from the depths of humanity, one tiny slither of hope, one minuscule act of kindness can allow the light that is life into your heart and eventually to permeate your soul.
Emery never deserved what happened to her but she did deserve the happiness that she suffered for so many years to find, the happiness that brought Rachel, Derrick, Noah and eventually Tim into her life and allowed them to stay.

This book was a beautifully crafted, emotionally astute journey through one girl’s journey from hell to happiness.