An Aching Kind of Growing by Brittany Rowland
Genre: Contemporary Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (341 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 4 stars
Review by: Orchid
When tensions with her parents reach a breaking point, fifteen-year-old Natalie flees into the night with a bike, some cash, and a backpack full of clothes. With no plan and nowhere to go, she won’t last long as a runaway. Life has taught Natalie not to count on anyone’s help, but she can’t keep running forever. The only person who sees her plight is a young boy, an unlikely friend. To finally stand up to the family that betrayed her, she’ll need to learn to trust again, even if it risks exposing the secrets she has fought hard to protect.
Most parents discipline their children, especially when they reach teenage years, but Natalie’s parents overstep the mark into torture and violence. Natalie leaves home and lives on the streets as a runaway. She still attends school and surprisingly her parents do not visit the school to demand she return home. This is another form of torture for Natalie.
Natalie spends time at the playground and meets Max and his mother Linnie, but does not let them get close to her for fear they will return her to her abusive parents.
This book is a “what could have been” for a lot of teenagers. The majority have comfortable homes and parents who discipline with firmness and authority tempered with love. Natalie’s story is what could happen to any child. Abused and ill treated, she is afraid to report her parents to the authorities. She knows this will lead to foster care and her one experience of this is enough to make her prefer the streets.
The book is well written with a touch of suspense as in “will she/won’t she” both for her and her parents. I liked the way the author gave Linnie and Max their own problems to solve, which had to be weighed up against whether they should help Natalie. Definitely a look into how things could have been for many teens and well worth reading.