This is a very sad book. I felt really sorry for the Shell, a motherless sixteen year old who spends her life in a small town looking after her younger siblings. I wanted to take her aside and give her some words of wisdom, as she seemed to be alone in the world. She doesn't really know what she wants or who she is, and when she got mixed up with lad-about-town Declan I knew that no good would come of it.
Shell decides she believes in God again after a new priest comes to the town but her belief doesn't help her. She is haunted by her mother, her father is lost in his grief and she is too ashamed or maybe too proud to ask for help when she really needs it.
This book is set in Ireland, and would be suitable for older teenagers, but it really does make harrowing reading. A cautionary tale?