Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison, Blog Tour
The follow-up to her critically acclaimed Lie to Me, J.T. Ellison’s Tear Me Apart is the powerful story of a mother willing to do anything to protect her daughter even as their carefully constructed world unravels around them.
One moment will change their lives forever…
Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.
Who knows the answers?
The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.
With vivid movement through time, Tear Me Apart examines the impact layer after layer of lies and betrayal has on two families, the secrets they guard, and the desperate fight to hide the darkness within.
"You are seventeen, going on eighteen," Lauren sings. She has a lovely soprano, and Mindy laughs, but it is strained, weak. She is so diminished. The chemo has already stripped her of muscle, of energy, of vitality. It is slowly killing her, and they both know it. The poison runs through her veins like a raging river down a hill - unyielding, unending, without thought or remorse for it's consequence."
This book was not quite what I expected and I mean that in the best way. Ellison wisely took her creative ability in a new direction with Tear Me Apart and her writing was absolutely phenomenal. I found myself all in my feelings almost immediately - one of the main characters, Mindy, is diagnosed with AML, a rare and aggressive form of leukemia (ironically, the very one that took my father back in November). Mindy's family struggles to come to terms with her diagnosis and frantically begin to search for methods to save her. The amount of research Ellison conducted is evident on every page -- we went through the same ups and downs regarding treatment options and my father was also given the same "booster shot" that Mindy receives in the story, so I appreciated the accuracy depicted regarding the treatments as well as the raw emotion and desperation felt by all the family members involved.
The story is told from multiple points of view and even though I figured out most of the plot twists fairly early, that in no way detracted from the story. Ellison delves deeply in to the stigma of mental illness, and what can happen when it is ignored and symptoms are left unchecked. Several of the characters hide their illnesses from their loved ones out of shame and secrets abound with everyone throughout this intense, slow burning, character study. J.T. packs a compassionate and powerful punch in her Author's Note that left me in tears and just reaffirmed to me why she is such an incredible writer and human being. I will leave you with a snippet of it, and hope it compels you to pick up this book. She writes "It is this I want you to remember, should you ever find yourself in the darkness. This feeling is temporary, no matter how cruel and pervasive it feels. It will get better. There is hope..... I hope this book will allow us to have more open dialogues about mental illness. There is no shame in a diagnosis of depression, or bipolar disorder, or severe anxiety, or any other mental illness. On the contrary, a diagnosis should be celebrated, because you, or your friend, or your family member has been brave enough to seek help."
Many thanks to TLC Book Tours, Mira and Harlequin Books for providing this complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review. Tear Me Apart will be in book stores everywhere on August 28. Please be mindful of the following triggers while reading regarding suicide, assault, physical violence, self harm and mental illness. If you or someone you know is struggling, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.