The Exes' Revenge by Jo JakemanThe Exes' Revenge by Jo Jakeman

The Exes' Revenge

byJo Jakeman

Paperback | September 11, 2018

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How far would you go for revenge on your ex? This wickedly dark debut, perfect for fans of Fiona Barton, Clare Mackintosh, and Shari Lapena, is a gripping, twisting answer to that question.

Divorces are often messy and Imogen's is no exception. Her husband, Phillip, is abusive, controlling, and determined to make things as difficult as possible. And now he has given Imogen an ultimatum: get out of the family home in two weeks or I'll take our son away from you.
    In a moment of madness, Imogen does something unthinkable. Something that puts her in control, for the first time in years. She's desperate to protect her son and claim authority over her own life.
    But Imogen wasn't expecting Phillip's first wife and his new girlfriend to get tangled up in her plans. These three very different women, and very unlikely allies, reluctantly team up to take revenge on a man who has wronged them all.
The Exes' Revenge is a deliciously satisfying psychological thriller from an exciting new voice.
JO JAKEMAN was born in Cyprus and worked for many years in the City of London before moving to the countryside with her husband and twin boys. She was the 2016 winner of the prestigious Friday Night Live Award at the York Festival of Writing. The Exes' Revenge is her debut thriller.
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Title:The Exes' RevengeFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9 × 6.14 × 0.91 inPublished:September 11, 2018Publisher:Penguin CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0735235961

ISBN - 13:9780735235960

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Revenge is best when... Three women. Three women with almost nothing in common except the man they love or once loved. Three women that should dislike each other and they do. So what would make these three women form a bond? Revenge. We all think about it; when someone has wronged us. We fantasize about it and some even act upon it. Imogen was and technically is still married to Phillip. Ruby is the past wife, Naomi is the future wife. And they have more in common than you might think. The story starts with an ending and page by page as we go back, there is more revealed to see how these three women, while not yet fully trusting each other, become united against a man that seems untouchable. A man so cruel, that he leaves victim after victim in his path of destruction. This is one of those books that makes you set aside some of your beliefs of right and wrong and embrace “the end justifies the means”. This book is hard to put down and many times I felt myself tensing up and my ears listening for every creak in my own house. It made me angry, frustrated and sad, with a few giggles in there too. Chocked full of suspense and some humour, I really enjoyed this book. And that demise was so delicious. This book is a 4 1/2 stars for me. Thank you to net galley and the publishers for allowing me the privilege to read and review this book by sending it free in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2019-02-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great thriller This was a dark, suspenseful thriller. The premise behind the story reminded me of the movie The Other Woman. In that movie, three women join together to get back at a man. The women are his wife, his mistress, and his new young girlfriend. In this story, Phillip’s ex-wife, current wife, and new girlfriend try to get revenge against him together. Most of the story was narrated by Phillip’s current wife, Imogen. The only parts that were not narrated by her were flashbacks into the other women’s lives. I found her frustrating most of the time. I kept wanting to yell at her to do something different. For example, she didn’t want to go to the police for help. Her husband is a police officer, so they were likely to side with him like they had done in the past. But I still think she should have reported what was happening. Even though I found Imogen frustrating at times, I still liked this fast paced thriller. I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Date published: 2018-09-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Reads like a movie! The Exes' Revenge is Jo Jakeman's debut novel. Imogen, Ruby and Naomi all have one thing in common - Phillip. Current wife Imogen desperately wants a divorce and full custody of their son. Ex wife Ruby still believes she has a connection with Pip. And girlfriend Naomi has discovered the kind of man Phillip really is....abusive, manipulating and sadistic. And he's a cop. I loved the timeline of Jakeman's storytelling. The book opens with Phillip's funeral. So we know the ending.... "There are only three of us here - Naomi, Ruby and I - who know how satisfying it feels to know that Phillip Rochester got the death he deserved." ....but it is the how that makes the book. That how unfolds in chapters starting twenty two days before Phillip's death and moves forward to the day of the funeral. We get to know the background of each woman with a few flashback chapters to set the tone for the present. The Exes' Revenge is not a character driven novel, but is instead driven by action. Jakeman keeps the reader on their toes with many shifts of power between the women and Phillip. And between themselves as well - can they really trust each other? For pragmatic readers, some of the plot devices will need to be taken with a grain of salt. But go with it as they absolutely work for the tale Jakeman has imagined. The Exes' Revenge was a good debut and an entertaining page turner. I can absolutely see this one as a movie.
Date published: 2018-09-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A great thriller to the end! This was the first book I have read by Jo Jakeman and I was quite impressed! This book sucked me in from the very cover and title of the book. I just knew it would be a perfect thriller of a book, which would be one that I loved. This book follows 3 women and a man they all have been with at one point in time named Phillip. There is the first wife, now ex-wife, Ruby. She has always been there for Phillip and they still have contact. She has always loved Phillip and is blind to all of his faults. There is his current wife, and soon to be ex-wife, Imogen. They share a son together, and Imogen knows what her husband is truly capable of. There is his current girlfriend, Naomi, who is much younger and prettier. Phillip has cheated on each women with the next woman in line. Phillip is rude, cunning, conniving, controlling, loves to play mind games, is mean, violent, and is physically, emotionally and verbally abusive. Even though all 3 women despise one another, circumstances and fate bring them together so they have to work together to get through it all. Will they make it out at the end as friends? Phillip is currently living with his girlfriend Naomi, but his wife (soon to be ex) Imogen is living in their family home they shared together with their son Alistair. Imogen is waiting for Phillip to sign divorce papers but Phillip is determined to have his say in everything and gives Imogen an ultimatum: be out of the house by the end of the month or there will be consequences. He will take their son away from her. This book was wonderful. I was hooked from the very first page, and I found myself so into the storyline that I seemed to breeze right through this book. I loved how detailed the storyline was and how in depth we got to read about each character. It allowed us to understand why each woman was the way they were and their experiences they went through being in a relationship with Phillip. Each woman experienced something quite different from the other in their relationship with Phillip, but had some common experiences as well. It ended up bringing them together so they had to work together. Phillip was so easy to despise in the novel. He mistreated all 3 of these women in one way or another, and some more harshly than others. Did he love them in his own way? What made him act the way he did? What exactly happened? You’ll just have to read the novel to find out. You won’t be disappointed.
Date published: 2018-09-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ominous, relentless, and intense! The Exes’ Revenge is a character-driven, domestic thriller that delves into how much relationships define us and reminds us that hell hath no fury as a woman scorned. The prose is gritty and taut. The characters, including the sinister, despicable villain are consumed, ruthless, complex, and vulnerable. And the plot, using a back-and-forth, past/present style does a nice job of building tension and unease as it subtly intertwines and unravels an intricate web of lies, secrets, abuse, control, desperation, vengeance, violence, and manipulation. Overall, The Exes’ Revenge is an unnerving, relentless, satisfying read and even though I felt the plot was slightly unrealistic at times it is still a compelling, entertaining debut for Jakeman, and I can’t wait to read what she comes up with next.
Date published: 2018-09-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Engaging Page Turner Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for my finished copy of Jo Jakeman's debut novel in exchange for my honest review.  This title releases September 11. Imogen is in the midst of a divorce from her abusive and powerful husband, Phillip, and  her primary goal is to come out unscathed with their son, Alistair.  She endured enough physical and mental abuse from Phillip over the years and cannot wait to be free of him once and for all.  His infidelities and abusive ways have created such hatred for her towards him that she would prefer nothing more than to see him suffer, or better yet gone from their lives indefinitely.   One day Imogen runs into Phillip's new (and younger) girlfriend, Naomi, at the hospital, while visiting her mother, and she quickly comes to the realization that Phillip has not given up his physically abusive ways.  This just adds fuel to Imogen's already burning fire of hatred towards Phillip.   When Phillip shows up one night threatening Imogen and Alistair to be out of their marital home by the end of the month, she decides to take matters into her own hands and locks him in their basement.  Quickly joined by Naomi and later Phillip's first ex wife, Ruby, the three women retaliate with their best revenge - making him suffer in the same ways he made them suffer. The story begins at Phillip's, so you know his fate from the onset of the book, but the "who, what and how" of his death are what keep this book entertaining.  Told from Imogen's perspective of the present and past, revealing the sequence of events leading up to his death.  More than just a story of spousal abuse, I thought it was interesting to see three unlikely women, who all played a role in the demise of each other's relationships, team up and take revenge on the sole culprit of their misery. A quick and engaging read, with an easy flowing writing style I breezed through this one in a couple of sittings.  I enjoyed it and thought it was suspenseful enough to keep me turning the pages.  A few interesting twists and turns that definitely made it a fun read for me. I would recommend this book for suspense thrill seekers looking for a quick page turner filled with twists and turns.
Date published: 2018-09-11

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 The day of Phillip's funeral I expected to feel free, unburdened, but when the curtains close around Phillip Rochester's satin-lined coffin all I feel is indigestion. Naomi perches in the front row, shifting uncomfortably as the congregation whispers at her back. There are creases under her eyes where cried-out mascara threads its way through the cracked veneer. I wonder what she's crying for because, after all he's done, I am certain that it is not for him. The vicar talked of a man who bore so little resemblance to the Phillip that I knew that I almost shed a tear. It is a time for lies and cover-ups, not truthful observations. I twist my wedding band with my left thumb. No engagement ring. Too flashy, Immie. You're not that kind of girl. Five hundred and forty-eight days have passed since Phillip left me. I know I should take the ring off, but no amount of soap can free me from the snare. Years of marital misuse have thickened my hands, my waist, and my heart. I am sitting five rows back, in the seat closest to the wall, as befits the ex-wife. Though, in reality, am I his widow? We didn't finalize the divorce. The paperwork is still on the sideboard along with the unpaid bills and the condolence cards. Fancy that. Me. A widow. Some might say I shouldn't be here at all. Friends from my old life try not to stare at me, but they can't help themselves. When our eyes bump into each other, there is a timid acknowledgment, an apology of sorts, before a gosh-look-at-the-time glance at wrists and a scurrying for the chapel door. Nobody called when Phillip traded me in. They went with him into his new life along with the Bruce Springsteen CDs and the coffee machine. Mother sits by my side alternately tutting and sighing, unsure whether to be angry or sad. She promised not to speak during the service, and though the effort is nearly crippling her, she has kept her word. Her eyes burn holes into my temples. I know that her nostrils will be flaring like they always do when she is displeased. Mother tends to convey more through her eyes than her mouth, and I regret not telling her to keep those shut too. We disagreed on whether Alistair should attend his father's funeral. She says that, at six years old, he is too young. I say that he should be here to say good-bye, to keep up the pretense that Phillip will be missed. Mother won. Some battles aren't worth fighting. We wrote notes attached to helium balloons instead. Up, up, and away. Bye-bye, Daddy. Rot in hell, Phillip. There are simple flowers at the front of the crematorium and Pachelbel's Canon is piped in from an invisible source. Everything has been carefully orchestrated to whitewash the darkness of death and to disinfect the walls against the smell of decay. A palate cleanser, if you like, between death and the wake. Naomi has booked the function room at the Old Bell, but I won't go in case the sherry loosens my lips and I smile a smile that shouldn't be seen at a funeral. As the mournful parade passes us by, we file out of our rows with the order of service in hand. Phillip's photograph on the front is a grotesque, grinning specter. It was taken before he was promoted to CID. A decade ago at least. I used to think he looked so handsome in that uniform. Mother stands in line to pay her respects to Naomi. It will be a brief conversation as high opinion is in short supply. My best friend, Rachel, is talking to DC Chris Miller with a red shawl fastened about her shoulders. She refused to wear black. As she rightly pointed out, black is a sign of respect. Both she and Chris held Phillip in the same regard. I'd hoped it would be Chris leading the inquest into Phillip's death, but they've brought in someone from further afield. Neutral. I'm aware of Ruby behind me, though I am careful not to make eye contact with her. She is wearing a diaphanous frock of fresh-bruise purple, the most somber outfit she owns. It's the first time I've seen her wearing shoes. Usually barefoot, sometimes in flimsy flip-flops. It's anyone's guess whether this is a nod to conformity or she has simply come equipped to dance on Phillip's grave. She sits at the back row, as far away from the coffin as she can get, and commensurate with her ex-ex-wife status. The first Mrs. Rochester, the woman that Naomi and I have been measured against, holds an icy-white tissue under her nose, a pomander against the contagion of grief. I stand and edge my way past the eye-dabbers and the head-shakers until I feel the sun on my face and smell the freshly mown grass. I squint against the sudden glare and a treacherous tear escapes my eye. A stranger touches his cold hand to my elbow in a shared moment of I-know-how-it-feels, but how could he? There are only three of us here-Naomi, Ruby, and I-who know how satisfying it feels to know that Phillip Rochester got the death he deserved. Chapter 2 22 days before the funeral The Barn was one of those new-old houses. Only one story, but never to be referred to as a bungalow. Large sand-colored bricks and small dark windows with their frames painted National Trust green show history has been given the once-over with a bleach wipe. Everything is reclaimed, sourced with the utmost integrity from salvage yards and auction houses. Old made to look new and new made to look old. I'd never set foot inside of The Barn. It was laughable that barns were desirable residences rather than shacks for animals. Farmers made a fortune selling dilapidated sheds with planning permission, and I could think of no better habitat for Phillip and his heifer. I rang the doorbell and waited as the echo of the bell chime ran off down the hallway. I adjusted my armor: handbag across my chest, leather gloves pulled tightly over my wrists, scarf wound about my neck like ribbons on a maypole. It wasn't easy for me to see Phillip in his new life, in his new house, with his new girlfriend, but this wasn't about me. This was about Alistair. We had agreed to be grown-up about the whole situation. Civil. For the sake of our son. But there was still the small matter of finalizing the divorce, and it wasn't bringing out the best in either of us. On paper, we would split everything amicably down the middle. For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health. If it were left up to Phillip, I would be awarded worse, poorer, and sickness while he got the rest. My solicitor said no one won by going through the courts. I told her, where Phillip was concerned, I couldn't win anyway. Alistair hadn't suffered when his father left us. In fact, he might have felt life was considerably better. I know I did. Alternate weekends were conducted through clenched teeth and false smiles. Lately, however, Phillip wanted more than I was willing to give. More family time with Alistair and a woman who wasn't family, more sleepovers where sleep was never had. The more he wanted to take, the less I wanted to give. With calls going unanswered and solicitor's letters ignored, I'd agreed to have "a word" with Phillip, but, standing in front of The Barn as day tipped into night, I still hadn't made up my mind which word it would be. I'd stretched out a gloved finger to press the bell again when I heard a door open. Footsteps getting louder. The girlfriend answered the door wearing next to nothing. She was attempting to pass off a sash of denim across her hips as a skirt, and I wondered how high their heating bills must be. She folded her thin arms under her chest and leaned against the doorframe with a faint smirk tickling the corners of her mouth. Her long red hair was out of a bottle, but I suppose it suited her pale skin and brown eyes. I was transfixed by her eyelashes, so thick and long. Real? False? Questions that could as easily have been about the woman. And the breasts. "Imogen. What a nice surprise," she said. She should've given her face fair warning before she spoke, because it betrayed her in her lie. "Hello, Naomi. Is he in?" I asked. "Not back yet." "Can I come in and wait?" "Does he know you're comin'?" We looked at each other expectantly, she expecting me to go away and I expecting her to find some manners, though my manners stopped me from saying so. "Come on in, then, but you'll have to tek off yer shoes." She spoke with an unfamiliar, difficult-to-place twang that suggested north of Derbyshire and sheep farming. Perhaps that's why she felt at home in The Barn. Out of politeness, I told her she had a lovely home and I wasn't even lying. The house smelled white-of vanilla, and lilies, and bedsheets drying in the sun. Everything was cream or soft gray, giving the impression of moving through low-lying clouds. Beware of turbulence, I thought. Her head snapped to look at me and I wondered whether I'd spoken out loud and out of turn. "It's beautiful," I said. "Just beautiful." She waited while I unzipped my boots. I saw her take in my odd socks and she seemed to grow two inches taller at the sight. I bristled, feeling shabby and unkempt beside her painted nails and stenciled eyebrows. "Renovations have been a chuffing nightmare. The beams"-she pointed above our heads to the exposed rafters-"are the original beams of the local abbey. They reckon they used them to build the farm after the abbey burned down. There's a conservation order on 'em. We had to get special permission to open all this up, and even then we had to be dead careful what we did." She'd adopted an air of false irritation that belied her pride in her home. "Really?" I said. "Fancy all that fuss for secondhand wood." I took off my gloves and scarf, folding and pushing them into my Mary Poppins bag to get lost among the used tissues, old receipts, and PokŽmon cards. Even without her being a weekend stepmum to my son, and only half my age, and weight, I still wouldn't have liked Naomi. People who didn't know what Phillip was like assumed I was jealous. If I complained about him, they thought I was bitter at being thrown over for a younger woman, and if the tables were turned, I might have thought the same. I didn't know Naomi, nor did I care to spend the time getting to know her. She'd be gone before long. From where I stood, she was shallow and self-obsessed. She was far too pretty to be a nice person, because the universe just didn't work that way. Naomi made Phillip look good. She was the lover, the coconspirator, the neon sign that proclaimed his dick still worked. To the outside world, Phillip had found love again after the breakdown of our marriage. Or slightly before, if you read his text messages when he left the room. I was a single mother gripping onto the final years of her thirties. Left behind. A solitary battered suitcase, doing another lap on the airport carousel. "Coffee or tea?" she asked. "Is it filter coffee?" "Instant." "I'll have tea, thanks." She held my gaze and blinked rapidly, eyelids tapping out Morse code for cow, then disappeared into the kitchen. I simply couldn't help myself. I found it impossible to make life easy for her. The only drink I wanted was clear and served over ice, but how else would we survive awkward situations if we didn't make tea to fill our time, hold tea to busy our hands, and drink tea to stop our mouths from running away? I looked around the sparsely decorated room, my hands playing with the strap on my handbag. Phillip hated clutter. He was too embarrassed to bring people to our home, because I could never elevate it to his standards. I wondered whether he had made me fearful of mess or whether I'd always had the tendency. Of course, he was Phil nowadays. A reinvention. I wondered who he was trying to convince. On the beech table beneath the window were thirteen mismatched photo frames. Thirteen. I tensed. Good God, why were there thirteen? I picked up the picture of Phillip wearing a snorkeling mask and slid it into my bag between the folds of my scarf. Twelve. Far better. A curved, round, gentle number. My shoulders loosened and the flow of anxiety in my chest reduced to a mere trickle. I smiled to myself, pleased I had defused a potentially difficult situation. The therapist had taught me some breathing exercises, but sometimes it was easier to remove the problem entirely. The last thing I needed was to have a panic attack in front of The Girlfriend. I looked at the remaining, even-numbered photos. Phillip and Naomi on a beach, at a wedding, kissing dolphins. Naomi as Catwoman and Phillip as a plump Batman. It had been his standard party outfit through the years. His crime-fighting persona had always been important to him. Phillip had what I liked to call a hero complex. He failed the tests to become a firefighter and his poor attendance at school, and even poorer grades, barred him from the RAF, and though the uniform wasn't as seductive, the police force was good enough. His job had even brought the lovely Naomi to his door. He told me about the woman who laughed uncontrollably when he caught her speeding. He'd implied that she was a dotty old dear who shouldn't be driving rather than an attractive adolescent who shouldn't be making sheep's eyes at another woman's husband. Traffic violations usually went one of two ways. Either the drivers came up with excuses: being late, not seeing the signs, wife in labor, dying parent. Or they accused him of being a jobsworth; of conning innocent people out of their hard-earned money, asking why he wasn't out arresting real criminals. But the woman at the wheel simply threw her head back and laughed. "Do you know why I stopped you?" Phillip had asked. "Because I'm an idiot?" "This is a thirty-mile-an-hour zone." "I weren't doing thirty," she said. "What's so funny?" "There's no point denying it, is there? That's the end of me license too. I've been collecting points like there's no tomorrow. If I don't laugh I'd cry."

Bookclub Guide

Book Club Discussion1.   Although frustrated with the status of their divorce, Imogen is shown to be a nonviolent and nonimpulsive person. If Phillip hadn’t demanded that she and their son move out, do you think Imogen would have reacted the way she did?2.   Initially, Imogen, Ruby, and Naomi have different feelings about Phillip and somewhat negative feelings about one another. Despite these differences they ultimately decide to unite against him. Have you ever had to work with someone you disagreed with for the greater good? What were the challenges? Was the outcome worth it?3.   The story explores different kinds of relationships, including those between parents and children, friendships, and love between romantic partners. Do you think that each of the characters’ relationships with their parental figures influences the events of the story? How significant is it that the women had few people to turn to?4.   Although the story is mostly told through Imogen’s perspective, there are also glimpses into Ruby’s, Naomi’s, and even Phillip’s pasts. Why do you think the author chose to include these moments of alternate perspectives? Did it change the way you felt about any of the characters and their relationships?5.   Discuss Imogen’s relationship with her son. How do you think she reconciled Alistair’s desire for his father’s love with the knowledge of Phillip’s abusive behavior?6.   Do you understand why Naomi and Imogen were both reluctant to go to the police during their relationships with Phillip despite the abuse they endured?7.   Ruby doesn’t believe the truth about Phillip right away, despite what she is told by Imogen and Naomi. Why do you think she is so determined to see the best in him?8.   It’s clear from the beginning of the novel that Phillip dies during the events of the book. Are the circumstances of his death satisfying? Would you have preferred that he had lived to be prosecuted for his crimes?9.   Do you think it’s inevitable for friendships or bonds to form between people who experience a shared trauma, such as what Imogen, Naomi, and Ruby share? Why or why not?

Editorial Reviews

"A powerful story about female rage. . . . Surprisingly empowering [and] emotionally-charged. . . . Tense, suspenseful, and wholly surprising, this searing debut feels ultra timely in an era where women not unlike Imogen, Naomi, and Ruby are using their voices to stand up to their abusers who don't look that different than Phillip.” —The Bustle“Assured . . . a revenge thriller [with] a cracking pace, plenty of twists and some well-judged dark humour.” —The Guardian (UK)“Entertaining . . . witty and satirical while illuminating a dilemma often faced by women when their marriages break up.” —The Times (UK)"An entertaining tale of revenge.” —Toronto Star"A revenge thriller to make you punch the air in solidarity. . . . A wickedly sharp, psychologically intense debut which announces Jo Jakeman as a future queen of grip lit." —Eva Dolan, author of This Is How It Ends "This is a cracking book. Darkly funny, yet also touching and emotive. Plus, full of suspense and twists. Buy it!" —CJ Tudor, author of The Chalk Man“A thriller for the #MeToo era. It's a fast-paced game of cats-and-mouse as three women form a slippery and dangerous alliance to break free from the man who has lied to and manipulated all of them. This is a modern revenge tale with a beating heart.” —Julia Heaberlin, international bestselling author of Paper Ghosts"A gem of a debut with a unique premise, tightly-crafted plot and believable characters who get under your skin from the start. Incredibly well-observed and sensitive [and], above all, thoroughly entertaining. Highly recommended!" —Caz Frear, author of Sweet Little Lies "It's not often you get a thriller that is just as good at keeping you on the edge of your seat as it is at making you laugh...A deliciously dark and gripping debut." —Emily Koch, author of If I Die Before I Wake"A brilliant debut from an author with a sharp wit and a keen understanding of human nature. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough." —Fiona Cummins, author of Rattle"What a sensational debut - pacy, twisty and darkly funny with well-rounded characters. I loved it!" —Roz Watkins, author of The Devil's Dice "A gripping story, sensitively told . . . " —Laura Marshall, author of Friend Request "Revenge is a dish served with lashings of relish in this vivid, blackly comic suspense novel, as three women fight back against an abusive partner. I cheered them on to the bloody end." —Louise Candlish, author of Our House“Tight, suspenseful, and satisfyingly dark, The Exes' Revenge uses its deft characterization and tense plotting to keep you turning the pages as fast as you can. Full of twists and surprises, thrilling and often bleakly funny, this is a book you’ll want to swallow in one white-knuckled reading session.” —Simone St. James, award-winning author of The Broken Girls