THE PLACES I'VE CRIED IN PUBLIC - by Holly Bourne

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Published: October 2019 - Usborne Publishing. 
Genre: Contemporary / young adult.
Pages: 368.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Rape / emotional abuse / PTSD.  
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Penguin Random House SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book. All thoughts are my own. 
Amelie loved Reese. And she thought he loved her. But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this. So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry. Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him.

There has never been a Holly Bourne book I didn't enjoy. She's an auto-buy author for me, and she never disappoints.


Naturally, I adore her writing. Her prose is so poetic, profound, and cuts right to the raw heart of the character, emotion, or situation. She's extremely insightful, emphatic, and intensely relatable; I've always related to her stories and characters. The only so-called downside is that while her themes and characters resonate with me, they're also triggering because they resonate with me. They're handled well, but these are still difficult topics - it's not supposed to be comfortable reading, and it isn't. Personally, my own anxiety gets triggered.

The story is captivating, in a heartbreaking, dreadful kind of way. It broke my heart to watch Amelie's relationship with Reese unfold, and to see how abusive he was and how he manipulated the relationship from the start, and also simply to see through Amelie's eyes the warped, twisted situation she found herself in and how it affected her mental and physical well being. Her journey is gut-wrenching, but it's also compelling. I was hooked. I read the book in two days, and while it's certainly gripping, the message is so important, too. Every person - young or old, male or female - should read this novel. Bourne gives a warning as much as she gives hope, and I think both are essential. 


   Sometimes that's all you can do in life, when it comes to pain - try and understand it. We all carry scars and scorch marks around with us. We cuddle up each night with ghosts of damaging memories - we let them swirl around our heads, never able to settle or heal because we can't make sense of this terrible thing that happened to us, and why we're finding it so impossible to get over. You can't force pain to leave until it's ready to go. Like the most annoying party guest, it only leaves in its own sweet goddamned time. Meanwhile there's nothing you can do but carry it until it's ready to be released.
But understanding the pain - why it's there, why it's not leaving - makes the burden much easier to bear.  


Amelie is a girl who wears cardigans, who writes songs, who plays guitar, who enjoys tea, who suffers from social anxiety, and from page one I just wanted to give her a hug. She's a teenage girl I'm sure many of us will relate to, and her story is gut-wrenching. My heart ached watching her journey, her loss of innocence, and the progression of her relationships, all of them so vivid (and at times relatable). But the ending of the novel, with its hope and start of healing, is the perfect beginning to the next chapter of Amelie's life. It's so satisfying.

I also love the evolution of Amelie's relationships with Hannah and Alfie, especially her friendship with Hannah. As she examines the abusive relationship Amelie's in, Bourne also uses Hannah to support and challenge Amelie when she needs it, which adds another dimension to the whole situation. Ultimately, Hannah is the friend that Amelie - and I would imagine most girls in Amelie's situation - needs. I enjoyed and appreciated Hannah's presence.




Beautifully written and telling a story that needs to be told, The Places I've Cried In Public is yet another impactful, gripping novel from Holly Bourne, who tackles critical issues such as abuse, sexism, and mental health with her trademark insight and empathy.

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