A strange and compulsively readable psychological thriller, Anne Heltzel’s Circle Nine loosely follows the nine levels of Dante’s Inferno as it tracks the story of Abby, a girl who has suffered a trauma so bad she has forgotten, well, everything. The tale opens as Abby is carried off by her “rescuer,” a boy named Sam. Because of her amnesia, she cannot remember any details of her life before Sam saved her. Together, she and Sam begin to build a magical, protected life in the woods, away from the dangers of the place she came from—a place she and Sam call Circle Nine.
Through a spiraling narrative of fantasy, memory, and doubt, Abby must force the truth out—even if it kills their dream world. Even if it kills her.
There are hints of Fight Club and even One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in Heltzel’s parable about learned helplessness—how we can be lead to believe whatever we want to believe, if it’s easier than facing reality. How we can turn captors into saviors, and come to rely most on those who hurt us most. How our own fears can turn in circles, trapping us—and, like spider’s webs, the more we struggle against them the more we are ensnared.
Warning: you will be very disturbed by this book. Warning: you won’t be able to put it down
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