I'm not sure why so many things I've been watching and reading recently are depressing. This is another one which made me cry a little towards the end.
This book is about a girl named Grace who wakes up in a locked white room with pens and paper. She doesn't remember how she got there but believes she was kidnapped by a guy she just met. We learn that she was planning to kill herself in a playground when she saw him on the swings and she went to talk to him in an attempt to make him leave so she could carry on, but instead found herself getting more drunk and eventually throwing up and letting him put her in his van. In the white room she is in, she has her own en-suite and he brings her good food and she lives comfortably while imprisoned. The book is basically her writing down her memories, trying to work through what happened, and how things ended up as they did.
She tells the story of how she fell in love with a boy named Nat who treated her well and made her feel worth something. She tells of how she fell out with her best friend Sal after she became pregnant (but wouldn't tell Grace who by) and consequently had an abortion. Grace self-harms and Sal was her best friend, the only one who really paid attention, saw what she was doing and tried to help her to stop doing it. Grace continued to cut herself despite her promises to Sal to stop. Her father killed himself several years before (I think when she was 14 - she's now 17) and her mother is rarely around, so Grace looks after (or doesn't look after) herself.
When she and Sal finally make up, she introduces her to Nat. She can't understand why they seem so awkward with each other and tries to make them like each other, also hoping to find a nice guy for Sal so she won't feel like a third wheel. The details in the writing are really interesting, all of the different things that hint at what really happened, things that Grace doesn't seem to notice or perhaps subconsciously ignores. She sometimes feels like she's not quite understanding what's going on, but assumes it's not really important. Nat's younger brother knows Grace and tries to tell her the truth about Nat, and because of her stubborness, this eventually ends in him texting her from Nat's phone to come over and she sees Nat and Sal together (though it's not all as bad as it looks - they are emotionally involved, but Nat wasn't the one who got Sal pregnant, however being emotionally involved can in some ways be worse than physically involved).
Throughout the story it is switching back and forth between her writing her memories and her writing about this place she's trapped in, the white room, with Ethan occasionally coming in, but even when the opportunity presents itself, she somehow can't find the courage to escape from the room. Throughout the book you kind of know that the white room and Ethan aren't really real, but it's interesting to see how it plays out, and you're not 100% sure what the reality is going to be. Right at the end of the book it is the things that Grace can hear, people talking to her, and it's clear that she never met Ethan, she was never kidnapped, she tried to kill herself and has been unconscious, in a coma throughout this whole time, trying to work through all of this. At the end of the book she hasn't woken up yet, but she has hope, and she's going to try.
The end is really depressing and you kind of want to know what would have happened if she woke up, but this is definitely a better ending - the promise of a different life (one of the people talking to her is her mother, apologising for not being there for her, explaining how she herself was struggling to cope without her husband and promising that it would change) and an unsure hope for the future.
It kind of reminds me of the end of the film 'Sliding Doors' (which I love) - where Helen is in a coma after being hit by a car, and James is holding her in his arms in the hospital, promising that they are going to have a wonderful life together, and then the monitor goes flat as she finally dies. Though sometimes I do actually get angry at that ending, I like happy endings, but it is all a little more interesting that way round. There's always hope in their other life in the film - where she does wake up from her coma. Anywho, that's a discussion for another day.
I don't think I've really done the book justice with my description but hopefully it'll do! Would definitely recommend the book, though if you've read this, I'm sorry for ruining the story, still worth a read :).