Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab

The Girl in the WallThe Girl in the Wall
by Daphne Benedis-Grab

Hardcover256 pages
Released: December 18th 2012 
Publisher: Merit Press
Purchase: Amazon
*Received finished copy from Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis via Goodreads:

Ariel's birthday weekend looks to be the event of the season, with a private concert by rock star Hudson Winters on the grounds of her family's east coast estate, and all of Ariel's elite prep school friends in attendance. The only person who's dreading the party is Sera, Ariel's former best friend, whose father is forcing her to go. Sera has been the school pariah since she betrayed Ariel, and she now avoids Ariel and their former friends. Thrown together, Ariel and Sera can agree on one thing: this could be one very long night.

They have no idea just how right they are. Only moments after the concert begins and the lights go down, thugs open fire on parents and schoolmates alike, in a plot against Ariel's father that quickly spins out of control. As the entire party is taken hostage, the girls are forced apart. Ariel escapes into the hidden tunnels in the family mansion, where she and Sera played as children. Only Sera, who forges an unlikely alliance with Hudson Winters, knows where her friend could be. As the industrial terrorist plot unravels and the death toll climbs, Ariel and Sera must recall the sisterhood that once sustained them as they try to save themselves and each other on the longest night of their lives.

A very intense, dramatic, suspenseful, and emotional read. You'll be at the edge of your seat with the turn of every page. 

The Girl in the Wall was really interesting from jump off. The fact that the story's told from the POV of two characters was a brilliant idea, because readers are given the opportunity to experience the ordeal from different angles. And I really shouldn't pick favorites in such a setting but honestly, I gravitated more towards Sera. I connected with her from start; being left out among her peers and feeling forced into a situation where she would not be welcomed. Also, while Ariel sought out refuge in the tunnels, Sera was there in the drama mostly. I learned a lot about both personalities but Sera's grabbed my attention naturally. There's something about her that just made you want to pull her into your arms and give her a big hug. I'm not saying Ariel was a total moron, but she seemed somewhat crude and unappreciative at first. Overtime, I warmed up to her. 

There were various aspects of the story that stirred your emotions, other than the itching mystery of trying to figure out what was taking place, why it was, and who was the mastermind behind it all, there were elements like the value of trust, friendship, and surprisingly-but a great addition-romance. Let's look at the inclusion of trust and real friendship. Ariel's reason for nearly throwing her bond with Sera away wasn't exactly logical, but her feeling betrayed was somewhat understandable. I was happy the two reconciled eventually, even if it took a hostage situation to mend their open wounds. The situation turned into a test of trust, and who each character could really without a doubt depend on to survive. 

Throughout the events of lives being taken (the details were as graphic as seeing them with your own eyes), love was in the air for both of the main characters. The end result of each was caught between sweet and painful. That part of the book nearly brought me to tears. At first I was unsure as to how I'd feel about that facet in the story but it made me realize that such things  could happen and probably have. 

Other good points about the story was how everyone worked together towards the end to get out of the situation. They each had a shared sense of goal, to survive or at least go down fighting. It was truly hurtful when they lost their friends along the way but in the end, justice was served, and lives were changed forever.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the book. The overall situation was so well constructed that it almost seemed like the author had been through such a terror herself. It's definitely a stretch from the sugary romance and fantasy-like YA books, but The Girl in the Wall is a must read if you'd like to challenge yourself to a gripping tale of best friends reuniting in the event of a violent night, among other intriguing things. 

About the Author

Daphne Benedis-Grab grew up in a small town in New York State.  As a kid she loved marathon phone calls with her friends, horseback riding, watching football with her dad and losing herself in a good book. She had dreams of being a football player and then a ballerina, but her fear of getting tackled and her sensitive toes ultimately made it clear she wasn't cut out for either. 
Daphne's first book, Alive and Well in Prague, New York, was also her thesis for The New School.  It was inspired by her experiences when her dad was terminally ill with ALS, and it came out in 2008.  After Prague she did a couple of writing for hire books under pen names and then started a project purely for fun, a thriller about a party taken hostage.  After many revisions that book became The Girl in the Wall. 
Now, Daphne lives in NYC with her husband, two kids and their doted upon cat.  She spends many of her days writing, always shooting for endings that are deeply poignant and satisfying, because sometimes the things that you figure out when you’re young are the truest things there are. 


  1. Great review Shane. This sound really good.

  2. I want this one! I've heard nothing but good things about it!

    1. I hope you enjoy it when you do get a chance to read it :)

  3. Yay for emotions! I have this one on my shelf, but haven't read it yet. I definitely will be soon though after your review :)

    Sunny @ Blue Sky Bookshelf

  4. Awesome review! I'm going to have to check this one out.

  5. I've never heard of this one before but it sounds really good!! Thanks for the review :)

  6. Oh this sounds like an awesome read. Great review.

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives


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