THE FALL OF INNOCENCE takes the reader on Emilia’s journey of finding out what it means to be “okay” again.
TRIGGER WARNING: The Fall of Innocence mentions physical and sexual assault.
At the fragile age of eight, Emilia was abducted and abused. She made it out, but was left with bumps, bruises, a severely injured tongue, and plentiful emotional scarring. Speaking was difficult: at first, physically, and then emotionally. Now sixteen, Emilia has found her voice, but not yet herself. She yearns for who she was before being kidnapped, but cannot seem to capture the essence of her former self.
Emilia has Ian, her “perfect” boyfriend, whom she is convinced she doesn’t deserve. She wonders how someone as wonderful as he is could fall for someone broken, like her. Thomás, her supportive and kind brother (with a secret), is there when Emilia needs him, and she doesn’t even have to ask. He’s her rock. Emilia’s mom, Nina, is a big part of her life as well, but honestly, maybe Emilia would be better off if Ma would relax a little. All the friends Emilia once had and her father are out of the picture, keeping her further from the girl she used to be.
If you’re familiar with my book reviews, you know I search for a fast-driving plot in novels. The Fall of Innocence does not have much of a defined plot. Its focus is the characters. We get the (third-person point of view) perspectives of all the main characters, with Emilia leading the pack. Once I started reading, I didn’t even miss a fast, rolling plot. The characters took me by the hand and led me through their struggles, and I cared. The Fall of Innocence is painfully intimate. The turmoil of Emilia, Ian, Thomás, and Nina leaps off the page and practically becomes a pulsing being you can hold in your hand. Their suffering hung over me like a fog refusing to clear.
My only real complaint about The Fall of Innocence is that every once in a while, it was a little difficult to follow. I wish the pages were organized better. The reader is slipping from the perspective/thoughts of one character to another and flying back and forth from past to present. Sometimes, it took me a few pages to get situated again.
RATING 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS
For the past eight years, sixteen-year-old Emilia DeJesus has done her best to move on from the traumatic attack she suffered in the woods behind her elementary school. She’s forced down the memories–the feeling of the twigs cracking beneath her, choking on her own blood, unable to scream. Most of all, she’s tried to forget about Jeremy Lance, the boy responsible, the boy who caused her such pain. Emilia believes that the crows who watched over her that day, who helped her survive, are still on her side, encouraging her to live fully. And with the love and support of her mother, brother, and her caring boyfriend, Emilia is doing just that.
But when a startling discovery about her attacker’s identity comes to light, and the memories of that day break through the mental box in which she’d shut them away, Emilia is forced to confront her new reality and make sense of shifting truths about her past, her family, and herself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenny Torres Sanchez (www.jennytorressanchez.com) is a full-time writer and former English teacher. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, but has lived on the border of two worlds her whole life. She is the author of Because of the Sun; Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia; and The Downside of Being Charlie. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and children. Follow her on Twitter @jetchez.