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February 09, 2015

Review: Cut Me Free by J. R. Johansson

Cut Me Free

Title: Cut Me Free
Author: J. R. Johansson
 Raincoast Canada 
Publication date: January 27, 2015
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary/Thriller)
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Pages: 304
Seventeen-year-old Charlotte barely escaped from her abusive parents. Her little brother, Sam, wasn't as lucky. Now she's trying to begin the new life she always dreamed of for them, but never thought she'd have to experience alone. She's hired a techie-genius with a knack for forgery to remove the last ties to her old life. But while she can erase her former identity, she can’t rid herself of the memories. And her troubled history won’t let her ignore the little girl she sees one day in the park. The girl with the bruises and burn marks.

That’s when Charlotte begins to receive the messages. Threatening notes left in her apartment--without a trace of entry. And they’re addressed to Piper, her old name. As the messages grow in frequency, she doesn’t just need to uncover who is leaving them; she needs to stop whoever it is before anyone else she loves ends up dead.
Contemporary books, as of late, have taken on heavier and important topics that need to be addressed in our society. Cut Me Free is one of them and it discusses physical abuse. The main protagonist, Charlotte was physically abused since she was young by her so called mother, and then her step-father along with her mother. We're talking serious business here, as in her brother was born inside the house and was never registered.. so legally? he doesn't exist. This frightened me so much because this isn't just fiction… things like this happen in real life, where innocent kids open their eyes to this abuse and only know a life with it. My heart really ached for them all. Bottom line, I applaud Johansson for addressing this difficult yet important topic in the YA world. 
I personally would have really preferred such a book to not include any romance but I think Johansson covered it well. It wasn't the sappy romance, but it was slow and Charlotte first had to be able to learn to trust people other than herself, which was no easy feat. Once Charlotte ran away, you would think this is it for her, new name, new identity, new life.. unfortunately people who have gone through a traumatic experience can't stay quiet or do nothing about someone they witness going through the same.. and I appreciated Johansson adding that to the plot. It really brought more depth and the relationship between Charlotte and the girl showed us how Charlotte was with her little brother. There was a ton of emotional scenes for me to digest while reading the book. 
I liked the mystery but wished it was a bit more fleshed out. However I personally wasn't able to guess who the person was that kept sending her the threatening notes. I was impressed by the end and it was very realistic. Cut Me Free is a very quick read but it packs a punch. It is a book that holds an important message inside and I really wish more people would read it. It breaks my heart knowing that right now there are kids out there who are physically abused.. kids that can't seem to escape the dire situation they were forced into and I feel raising awareness and not turning a blind eye about a topic like this is important for the common population. 


  1. This one really didn't work for me because I felt like it was too split - thriller or issue book? I agree with what you said about the romance, though. Glad you liked it!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  2. I'm curious about this book :D Probably not for me, though, hmph :p But I am so so happy you enjoyed it so much Juhina :D Thank you for sharing your awesome thoughts about this book. <3

  3. I really have to get to this! This is just my kind of book and I got a review copy so whatever did happen about reading it BAH. I'm glad you liked it, Juhina! Makes me excited!