Through the Cracks by Honey Brown

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Penguin, 2014. ISBN 9781921901546.
(Age: 16+) Child abuse. Thriller. Crime. Reluctant readers. Four-year-old Nathan Fisher disappears from the bank of a rocky creek but an extensive search cannot find him. A decade later Adam Vander knows that he is tall enough and strong enough to take down his father, who has abused him, locking him in the house and never letting him leave. He enters a world that is completely foreign to him and with a young man, Billy, as his guide has to survive without money or a home.
Honey Brown unravels the story of Adam in a compelling way that ensures the reader doesn't put the book down until the final page. The fate of Adam is engrossing, from the moment he leaves the suburban house where he has been kept, to his experiences in the underbelly of society where children are abused by adults. The friendship between Billy and Adam is brilliantly described as is Adam's development in understanding the world he lives in.
The suspense is kept up throughout the novel as the reader is left wondering who Adam really is and what part Billy played in his fate. I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen to the pair and whether Adam will find a happy resolution.
Although the themes are very dark, they are not handled in a sensational way and the ending is ultimately positive. Readers will have plenty to think about as Adam emerges from his prison and begins to relate to people and the character development of both Adam and Billy is exceptional.
Pat Pledger