Entertaining Enough

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Long story short...
12-year-old rural girl loses mother and little sister to two violent rapists and murderers. Girl escapes and is on the run for a month. Girl meets a man, seemingly her polar opposite, who reluctantly agrees to train her for her mission to take vengeance on the two men. Girl develops into a 13-year-old badass who may be going slightly psychotic. Girl meets a variety of people, some really really nice, some not so nice, and some...who deserve to be at the bottom of a river... Girl goes through hellish trials and tribulations of all sorts before she finally is able to tackle her ultimate goal. Girl fights like hell to get the ending to the new life she wants with the people she wants to be with.

Long story...
Dorian Box created an interestingly unique partnership and dynamic between Emily and Lucas, little rural white girl and built-like-a-wall, ex-gang member black man. This causes instances of racism and stereotypes to come into play sporadically throughout the story including wording that I had to grow to kind of shake off and accept as a natural part of the story considering who our two main characters were. Let me just say that sometimes you forget Emily is only 12 and grew up in rural Georgia, but other times it's glaringly obvious.

I liked that Lucas is tough as nails on the outside but a compassionate marshmallow on the inside for kids like Emily because of his own siblings. Lucas (and Kiona, his girlfriend) are like Emily's Miyagis and I think Box does a good job detailing her training and education on things like weapons and even some human anatomy.

I give this about 3.5 stars because I enjoyed the character developments and got some fun surprises along the way but I rounded down because I did feel like certain things were kind of abrupt and not as realistic as they could be. And again it was also hard for me to accept some of the wording at first and I had to ease back into the story for a comfortable feel.

Sidebar: I don't really see any reason for this to not be a standalone but I'd check out the second book...maybe.