Review of ‘Abandoned’ by Vicky Ball

A compelling novel for young adults, packed full of emotional drama, Abandoned is the author’s second book and in my opinion it’s even better than her debut. I was kept turning the pages to find out what happens to the two main characters, 15-year-old girls with very different backgrounds but who have a surprising and tragic connection to each other…

Abandoned, showing a girl hiding her face.

The story begins from the perspective of Maddie, who has a difficult home life with her alcoholic mother. A dreadful secret is revealed at a family funeral, which sends Maddie on a rollercoaster journey of discovery. Halfway through, we change to the perspective of Ella, who is recovering from a terrible accident and whose world is about to be turned upside down again. The story is well-written and sensitively portrays topics such as alcoholism, domestic abuse, physical disability, coming out and adoption. Some of the coincidences were a bit too convenient, I felt, but they did ensure that the story had a lot of conflict. Occasionally, I wasn’t entirely convinced by the narrative voices (would teenagers really call their peers ‘teenagers’?) and the dialogue could have been more clearly differentiated from other sentences, as sometimes I had to re-read carefully to work out who was speaking, but despite these minor issues, I was very impressed.

Independently published by Burton Mayers in 2023.

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