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Emily Calby--or Alice Black, depending on who you ask--has had a rough life. After witnessing the murders of her mother and sister, while previously having lost her father, Emily barely escapes with her life, and she has been on the run ever since. Luckily she has been able to make a new “family” for herself as she attempts to navigate her new life. Unfortunately, Emily is forced to face a new obstacle when, after pulling an illegal handgun on some bikers with bad intentions, she is picked up on an old warrant in Louisiana. Facing juvenile prison politics, a victimized cell mate who reminds Emily of her sister, and a prosecutor determined to lock her up for life, Emily finds herself in a fight for her life and her freedom. 

The Girl in Cell 49B is the second installment in the Emily Calby series, The Hiding Girl being the previous novel. I have not read The Hiding Girl, and while there were quite a few references to previous events--Emily’s warrant is the result of something that happened in The Hiding Girl--I never really felt lost or confused, but I do wish I had read the other novel first. I often felt as though there was a Shawshank Redemption vibe to the story. The characters are well developed and well written. They seem very honest and authentic as they truthfully reveal the inherent faults within the system, along with the far-reaching consequences of poor or nonexistent families and support systems. Emily is a tough, smart girl who the reader can easily root for as she fights for what she thinks is right. I really enjoyed the buildup within The Girl in Cell 49B and the ultimate conclusion that these events led to. There were some things and events that seemed a little too convenient and depended too much on chance, as well as a couple that went just past unbelievable, but this didn’t really take away from my enjoyment of the story itself. 

The Girl in Cell 49B is an entertaining and thrilling novel that I recommend to anyone who likes novels with tough females taking on the system. The Girl in Cell 49B will be available on March 1st, so get ready! Thank you to NetGalley and Friction Press for sending me an electronic copy of The Girl in Cell 49B, given in exchange for an honest review; all opinions are my own.