The Conjoined paints a telling portrait of the lies we tell ourselves, the truths that need telling and the welcoming weightlessness of letting go.  

Publisher’s Blurb :

On a sunny May morning, social worker Jessica Campbell sorts through her mother’s belongings after her recent funeral. In the basement, she makes a shocking discovery — two dead girls curled into the bottom of her mother’s chest freezers. She remembers a pair of foster children who lived with the family in 1988: Casey and Jamie Cheng — troubled, beautiful, and wild teenaged sisters from Vancouver’s Chinatown. After six weeks, they disappeared; social workers, police officers, and Jessica herself assumed they had run away.

As Jessica learns more about Casey, Jamie, and their troubled immigrant Chinese parents, she also unearths dark stories about Donna, whom she had always thought of as the perfect mother. The complicated truths she uncovers force her to take stock of own life.

Moving between present and past, this riveting novel unflinchingly examines the myth of social heroism and traces the often-hidden fractures that divide our diverse cities.

 This read goes way beyond the mystery of the frozen girls found at the bottom of a freezer. Firstly, I grabbed hold of Jessica and was absorbed by her predicament.

  • Her mother had recently died
  • She finds bodies in the basement freezer
  • She is questioning her relationship with her boyfriend
  • She feels less passion for her job

The reason I connected to this book was definitely through Jessica.  She said some things I’ve thought but never brought myself to actually say. It really made me think of why I hold back so much. As the book peels back layers to Jessica’s childhood, seeing it through her eyes was eye opening.

As I got deeper into the novel, it got darker for me.  The sufferings that the two little girls faced were very difficult for me to read. The mother’s fears and distress; before and after her girls disappeared was genuinely powerful. Through the girls, we definitely saw the flaws in child protective services.  It just made my heart break.

The novel is not a true mystery/thriller per se, it is a profound and honest look into the lives and relationships of the characters within the pages of The Conjoined. I struggled for the first few chapters, but I was fully engaged by chapter seven. It is brutally honest and as a reader you’ll find that there is much that is left unsaid.  The hauntingly poignant part is arriving at the end.

The Conjoined by Jen Sookfong Lee will be available on September 13th 2016 !

Publisher : ECW Press 

The Conjoined

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