Unforgiving and raw, The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab offers readers an uncensored view into what a hostage situation might look like from a young adult’s point of view. This suspenseful young adult novel uses the importance of friendship as the anchor to the story, and successfully captures a terrifying and heartbreaking nightmare within the pages of the book.
The story is morbidly addicting. Death follows the characters in this novel like a stalker and the reader is the sole witness to the deadly situation. Though s/he hopes for a safe outcome, s/he can't help but wonder who will die next.
Ariel and Sera, the two protagonists, ex-best-friends, and interchanging narrators of the novel, successfully grow as characters. The reader is given both points of view so that s/he can decide which character is more reliable. Whereas the story suggests that Sera is the stronger of the two, thanks to her past decisions leading to her social pariah status, the reader might find that it is, in fact, Ariel and her story of redemption and loss that makes her the tougher protagonist.
Quickly paced and without a dull moment, Benedis-Grab manages to write a disturbing, yet entertaining novel that will entrance future readers. Budding young romance adds an extra touch to the already thriving story line, and the will to survive makes this an inspiring read.
The Girl in the Wall can be devoured in less than a day, but the ending may leave the reader wondering if perhaps a better conclusion exists. Though symbolic and sentimental, I found that perhaps after such a heart-stopping story, the ending should have more power behind it.
I recommend The Girl in the Wall to readers addicted to fast-paced storytelling and action, and to those not undeterred by violent descriptions. Benedis-Grab’s novel is a must-read for anyone who is seeking a story that veers from the usual safe and predictable teen read.