Content Warnings: Contains descriptions of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, domestic violence, substance use, and suicide
Summary: This intense, beautiful debut is about the power of finding your voice and sharing your story after trauma. Seventeen-year-old Virginia finds power and solace in folklore as she copes with childhood sexual trauma, finding the strength to save her love interest’s youngest sister from the same fate. Alena Bruzas, with her mesmerizing and deeply insightful writing, blazes onto the YA scene with this first novel that should join Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak on all YA bookshelves.
EVER SINCE, the mesmerizing debut novel by Alena Bruzas is an intense and beautifully crafted YA contemporary that delves into the power of finding one’s voice and sharing their story after trauma. With its captivating narrative and deeply insightful writing, EVER SINCE stands as a remarkable addition to the genre, deserving a place alongside notable works like Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. Bruzas skillfully addresses sensitive topics and offers readers an emotional and thought-provoking reading experience.
A Powerful Story of Resilience
At the heart of EVER SINCE lies a gut-wrenching tale of a young girl named Virginia, whose traumatic experiences lead her on a downward spiral, impacting not only her own life but also those around her. Bruzas fearlessly explores themes of sexual assault, child sexual abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation, presenting them with a rawness that compels readers to confront the difficult realities faced by survivors. Virginia’s story also serves as a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit.
Virginia’s Painfully Honest Voice
One of the standout qualities of this book is Virginia’s authentic and brutally honest narrative voice. Bruzas artfully delves into Virginia’s thoughts and emotions, allowing readers to intimately connect with her character. Virginia’s internal struggles, her coping mechanisms, and her pursuit of healing are portrayed with such rawness that it becomes impossible to look away. Through Virginia’s perspective, readers experience the depths of her pain, her desperation, and ultimately her hope for a better future.
Mythology and Universality
Bruzas weaves a tapestry of mythology throughout EVER SINCE, drawing parallels between Virginia’s experiences and the stories of women from different cultures who have suffered abuse. The inclusion of figures like Medea, Fatima, Aife, and Sita adds a layer of timelessness and universality to Virginia’s narrative, highlighting the pervasive nature of abuse across history and cultures. This juxtaposition serves to amplify the importance of Virginia’s story and the need for collective awareness and support.
The Power of Empathy and Understanding
By now, I’m sure you’ve realized that EVER SINCE is an emotionally charged novel that dives deep into the complexities of trauma, illuminating the dark corners of human experience. Through Bruzas’ exceptional prose, readers are transported into the hearts and minds of the characters, experiencing a range of emotions alongside them. The book imparts a heightened sense of empathy, expanding readers’ understanding of the impact of trauma on individuals and the significance of supporting survivors in their journey toward healing, and we will always give a shout-out to books that bring more awareness to understanding trauma response—especially in a time where victim blaming is at an all-time high!
A Book of Hope and Friendship
Despite the harrowing nature of Virginia’s story, EVER SINCE ultimately offers a glimmer of hope and showcases the power of friendship in times of adversity. Bruzas beautifully balances the darker elements with moments of connection, love, and support. The book is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the strength that can be found in personal relationships, reminding readers that hope can be found even in the most challenging of circumstances.
EVER SINCE by Alena Bruzas is out now and available to order here.
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