Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Cellar

The Cellar    by Natash Preston

Sixteen-year-old Summer heads to a club to meet a friend, refusing her boyfriend’s offer to walk with her.  It’s a small town, safe; it’s a short distance.  

She doesn't know that “Clover,” a psychotic abuser, is looking for a replacement for “Lily,” one of the girls who are his "flowers." The flowers are girls he has kidnapped and keeps in his cellar to be his family.  The girls are named as those flowers:  Rose, Violet, Poppy, and now Lily.  He is given breakfast and dinner by the girls; he dresses them alike; occasionally he sexually abuses them.  If they complain, fight back, or try to escape, they are killed: knifed in front of the other girls who must clean up the mess and place the girl in a body bag.  There have been many girls in the past, although only one Rose.

Slowly we learn Clover’s real identity and back story, with insight into the psychological stimuli which lead to his bringing prostitutes home and killing them with his knife, leaving the bodies for the “Flowers” to clean up and place in a body bag.

Summer is missing for a year, and the story unfolds through the eyes of Summer, her boyfriend, and Clover in alternating chapters. It is a slow descent, with plenty of time for readers to be struck with the slow horror.

My biggest pique with the story is that Summer never really deals with the psychological aftermath.  She may in fact have Stockholm Syndrome, but no one is stressing the need for a therapist.  It is impossible to believe that she could even remotely deal with all that happened on her own.

The Cellar is similar to Coley’s Pretty Girl Thirteen, although that story dwelled on Stockholm Syndrome.

Recommended 9th grade up.

bullying, child abuse, cussing, death, grieving, kissing, prostitution, rape, sexual situations, Star Trek Sex, and violence.

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