The Tattered Gloves by JL Berg – REVIEW


Head down.
Don’t look up.
Never make eye contact.

Those were the words I lived by growing up, the words that protected me in an unsafe home. But words are only letters and eventually even they couldn’t keep his hands off me.

Hoping to leave behind the shattered life of my past, I find myself in a boring, small town, with an aunt I’ve never met and at a school I loathe.

But soon I learn, not everything in this world is as black and white as I’ve determined. Sometimes those we are so quick to judge often need a second, third or even fourth time to make a first impression.

And often, there are friendships and even love waiting just around the corner, if we are brave enough to take the first step.

Am I brave? Or will I hide behind these tattered gloves of mine forever?

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Review by Gina:

I’m not an avid reader of Young Adult books—mainly because I’m well past the YA stage. However, there are some—from the likes of Colleen Hoover or Nicole Williams—that I’ve fallen in love with. I can now add JL Berg’s Tattered Gloves to this list. WOW! Just wow—on so many levels.

Willow Fairchild comes from less than a happy home. With a prostitute as a mother, Willow grows up with strange men coming into her home at all hours and no father in sight. As she gets older and enters her teenage years, her mother forces her to her room for fear that her “clients” will be more interested in Willow. But being a prostitute doesn’t bring in the kind of money she’d hoped and Willow spends many nights hungry and alone—until the night she can’t take it any longer and sneaks out of her room in search of food. That fateful night changes the course of her life…

Sent from DC to Sugar Tree, Virginia to live with her Aunt Addy who Willow never knew existed, she faces life as a sixteen year old, who has seen the worst side of people and lives with the emotional scars to prove it. Afraid of physical contact and preferring to be alone, she is immersed in the local small town high school that is nothing like she’s used to. Making friends and fitting in were just not her thing—especially given the fact she wears red gloves on her hands…always. But Sugar Tree may be the answer to her many years of wishes.

Aunt Addy is the mother figure Willow never had—giving her the space she needs but supporting her in all sorts of ways that eventually lead to Willow opening up and conquering the one night that changed her life. Allison—a friendly, popular girl at school—latches on to Willow because she sees something in her and with time and persistence grows a beautiful female friendship the likes of which Willow has never seen.

And then there is Sam Shephard. Sigh. He shares some common elements with Willow, having been brought up with a single parent. His mother high-tailed out of town when he was eleven and his dad has never been quite the same. Being from the family that founded Sugar Tree, some people think Sam has it all, but his opening up to Willow—aka Mittens, as he likes to call her—proves to her that everyone carries their own baggage in life.

This is a story of sexual assault. It’s a story of healing, of new beginnings, of accepting the past and moving forward in the future. The author creates beautifully—and sometimes painfully—real characters. You feel the pain living inside of Willow. You see the internal strife, the struggle to be normal, the desire to just be loved. And as the story unfolds, you see the strength of a person’s soul and what a difference just a few good people in your corner can do.

Kudos to JL Berg for taking a difficult topic (and one dear to my heart being a sexual assault surviving as a teenager myself) and turning it into a beautiful story—not just a love story—but also a story of survival!

5 beautifully sparkling silver buckles

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About J.L. Berg

J.L. Berg is the USA Today bestselling author of the Ready Series, The Walls Duet, and the Lost & Found Duet. She is a California native living in the beautiful state of historic Virginia. Married to her high school sweetheart, they have two beautiful girls that drive them batty on a daily basis. When she’s not writing, you will find her with her nose stuck in a romance novel, in a yoga studio or devouring anything chocolate. J.L. Berg is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.

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