Cut Me Free By J.R. Johansson

I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.

This book contains material that may be triggering for sensitive readers.
Cut Me Free By J.R. JohanssonCut Me Free by J.R. Johansson
Published by Macmillan on January 27, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery

Seventeen-year-old Charlotte barely escaped from her abusive parents. Her little brother, Sam, wasn’t as lucky. Now she’s trying to begin the new life she always dreamed of for them, but never thought she’d have to experience alone. She’s hired a techie-genius with a knack for forgery to remove the last ties to her old life. But while she can erase her former identity, she can’t rid herself of the memories. And her troubled history won’t let her ignore the little girl she sees one day in the park. The girl with the bruises and burn marks. That’s when Charlotte begins to receive the messages. Threatening notes left in her apartment–without a trace of entry. And they’re addressed to Piper, her old name. As the messages grow in frequency, she doesn’t just need to uncover who is leaving them; she needs to stop whoever it is before anyone else she loves ends up dead.

Cut Me Free begins with a girl who you can tell right away has survived something traumatic.  What you find as you read this book is that she is rebuilding her life after surviving horrible circumstances.  The descriptions of abuse are pretty detailed, so they could be triggering for some readers.  Charlotte’s character, despite being locked in an attic for most of her life, seems to be able to function at a pretty amazing level and is also savvy enough to know she needs an identity to navigate her new life.  When she decides to rescue a girl that she knows is being abused, the story takes the tone of a thriller.  The bad guy was pure evil, I must say, but the entire set-up for the story, and Charlotte’s reaction to the abuse she sees, just didn’t seem possible to me, even accounting for the fact that this is a work of fiction.

This book would have been great as an issue book about a girl who survived horrific abuse and this book would have been great as a thriller, but not as both.  It seemed to me that it couldn’t decide whether it wanted to tell me, the reader, about child slavery or if it wanted to scare the crap out of me with a thriller about a psycho on the loose.  Unfortunately, the result was a jumbled, unfocused story with graphic descriptions of physical abuse with no real reason, other than to horrify me.  In no way is this an issue book and to call it a well structured thriller would also be a stretch.  There was a good story in there, somewhere, but it was quite unfortunately buried in poor character development and a jumbled execution.



About J.R. Johansson

My B.S. degree is in public relations and I have a background in marketing. My abnormal psychology minor inspired many of my characters. When I’m not writing, I love reading, playing board games, and sitting in my hot tub. My dream is that someday I’ll find a way to do all three at the same time.


4 responses to “Cut Me Free By J.R. Johansson

  1. Hmmm, sounds like this book tried to juggle two very strong things and that’s not always easy to do.
    Sorry to hear it really didn’t work for you!

  2. I started reading this one the other day and stopped because it was just too graphic for me. I’ve never personally been a victim of abuse, but I do know people who have and reading about it in that much detail just didn’t work for me. It was way too upsetting. So I guess I’m glad, in a way, to hear that the rest of the book wasn’t all that great. Now I don’t feel like I missed out on anything.

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