Olivia Brooks has been able to keep her life in Sugar Mill, Louisiana held perfectly together, far away from the small town where she grew up. Even though her past still haunts her, she has found a perfect process of surviving, until a string of events brings Luke Plaisance to Sugar Mill and turns her organized life upside down.
While Olivia fights to hold on to the life she’s created, unraveling it may be exactly what it takes for her to truly survive. She must accept her past in order to live, or let it threaten the only future she’s ever wanted. Because some secrets can’t stay buried… and shouldn’t.
An inspiring and heartbreaking tale of abandonment, survival, and purpose. A harrowing journey of self-discovery and perseverance.
Two Thousand Lines, is an amazing story of one soul fighting the dark battle of trauma, PTSD, physical and mental/emotional abuse, and the unending battle of finding balance. Our main character is Olivia but she does find many other people like her, fighting similar battles of their own, and many others who love and support her.
Olivia had to endure her stepfather’s abuse, Mr. Melvin, after her mother dies. He liked doing everything in two-thousands, (hence the title), and from a young age, she was punished mentally and physically. Write two-thousand lines, do two-thousand jumping jacks, he even restricted her eating.
Throughout the book, we’re told the story between Olivia’s past and her present day as she continues to fight against her past and for her future, albeit sometimes she does need a little prodding to fight for her future. Michelle Jester did a seamless job of transitions between the ‘here and now’ and ‘back then’. I never found myself confused.
The opening pages come with a warning and I’m glad they did. Not because anything was overly graphic but because the trauma can still be triggering for those who have suffered similar events of abuse. Michelle Jester does a tactful job of implying abuse without the gory details many authors use as a cheap method of shock-and-awe.
One surprising find in this novel was the use of paintings inspired by what our Olivia was enduring. I do wish they had been a little larger, so that they can be fully appreciated. This was such a cool twist and an amazing way to show the many avenues that can be used to deal and work through traumas, mental illnesses and anything really. Art is made by many a tortured souls, and they tend to be beautiful and honest.
The other surprise in here was Olivia’s somewhat love-interest but mostly supportive friend/occasional foe, Luke. Who had been deployed and was fighting his own battle with PTSD. I appreciated the representation of such diverse and honest characters, and the follow up information at the back of the book for persons who may need to find help. Veterans are so often unrepresented and it was great secondary story line.
Sure, this may not be your typical YA read, and that’s because it has honesty and integrity and rawness built in. These are the real stories of the people you see at the supermarket, or mowing their yard next to yours, or the weird neighbor you don’t see often because they’re going through their own hard battles. The story is engaging, and evokes strong emotions, which I find important. Occasionally we need to come out of our shells and bear witness to those tortured souls we call neighbors.
If you enjoy reading edgy YA and looking for a new author to discover, then check out Michelle Jester’s Two Thousand Lines today
About the Author
Michelle Jester lives in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana with her husband, high school sweetheart and retired Master Sergeant. Together they have a son and daughter. She is a hopeless romantic and has been writing poems and stories for as long as she can remember.
One of her prize possessions is a bracelet with only a yellow, Rubber Duckie charm on it; which she wears every day to remind her to enjoy the fun and happy things of life!
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