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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  582 ratings  ·  127 reviews
After Hazen Wood kidnaps twelve-year-old Gemma Sullivan, the two embark upon a cross-country journey that tests the limits of Gemma's endurance. In scenes of physical and sexual violence, Hazen tries to destroy the young girl's will. When she does manage to escape hedrags her backand threatens to haveher arrested for the violent acts he performs.It is only Gemma's resilien ...more
Paperback, 268 pages
Published February 16th 2010 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published October 1st 2006)
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Note: I won this book free through the Goodreads First Reads giveaway, which had no influence over my rating or review. It can also be found here:

Haunting, brutal and realistic. Tilly's stark, punctuated writing style suits both protagonists well in this novel. At first I didn't like or understand Gemma at all, until her abuse comes to light in an almost off-hand way and all of a sudden. Which may be how abuse really happens in real life, so fitting. As the story went on, I
Story Overview

Gemma Sullivan is a 12-year-old girl who hides her interest in school but secretly loves learning. She does her best to make a life for herself, despite her neglectful, alcoholic mother and the unwanted attentions of her mother's boyfriend Buddy. Buddy has been forcing Gemma to have sex with him since she was 7 years old and has convinced her that it must be kept secret or she will go to jail. Withdrawn and friendless, Gemma dreams of having a normal life with a normal mother and a
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I hate to start a review with a warning, but I feel I need to - this is a graphic, explicit, disturbing book. Meg Tilly holds nothing back, so if you are easily upset by child sexual abuse, please seriously consider whether this book is for you. On the other hand, if you are a reader of 'tough issues' books, this is a book that will stretch you to the limits.

Gemma herself is the bright shining light of this book - right from the beginning I adored her stream of consciousness ramblings, positive
Laura Scarcello
I recieved this book as a Goodreads Firstread. It's about what you expect for "abuse" fiction. Meg Tilly suffered some of the same horrors as her narrator, Gemma, so obviously has the emotion perfect. However, the voice of the writing is off kilter. The book is a first person narrative by 12 year old Gemma, but there is no way that you'd mistake her vioce for anyone under 30. I think the author would be better off setting up a prologue where "Gemma" admits to re-narrating her childhood during he ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
One star means 'didn't like it'. That's putting it mildly! I would like to rate it NO star. If I hadn't won this book, thus having to write a review, I would never have finished it. Too graphic and disturbing.
Gemma is a compelling story by author/actor Meg Tilly, who herself suffered abuse at the hands of adults she trusted. I found the story almost intoxicating and difficult to put down. At the same time I was sickened by the cruelty and descriptions of abuse, I was inspired by the small voice of a very brave girl who suffered, yet never lost her hope for a life in which someone would care.

I received a free copy of Gemma through Goodreads First Reads. If I had seen Gemma in a bookstore, I probably
Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner)
Jan 06, 2010 Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People with a strong stomach
Shelves: own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eva Leger
I've been meaning to read this for a few years at least and it's been sitting here for about that long. I finally picked it up because a friend thought she may want to read it. I'm glad I read it so now it's off my shelf. But I'm not glad I read it because it's so great. It's not as great as people say.
I think what has people saying it's so great is how graphic it is.

**Hear me out.**

Most books aren't as graphic as this. In this way it's somewhat unique. So, it hits harder because of that alone
*•.♥.•*Sabrina Rutter*•.♥.•*
I knew going into this I was going to be reading about a terrible subject. That's fine since I read a lot of true life stories about abuse, but this was very graphic. So graphic I thought for sure this couldn't be a young adult novel, but it is.
I didn't care to much for the writing style. An example is the word "thinking" written as "thinging". I also didn't like the fact that Tilly would write as though it were in the present moment and then switch the next sentence as if it were past tense. Be
This was the most graphic story that I have ever read. Some parts were so intense that it was hard to get through. It was written from two different viewpoints. That was interesting to read about the different perspectives. Gemma was very naive and confused about it all, as is expected since she is a child. What really got me about her situation was that she thought that she would go to jail if Buddy or Hazen was caught. Hazen knew this so he took advantage of it, by reminding her every chance h ...more
I did NOT like this book. At first, it was kinda good, but after a while it got worse and worse. It's about this girl named Gemma, and the book was written in a southern accent so it's safe you say that they're in a southern state. Anyway, Gemma is described to be a loner at her school, but not because people don't like her, but because she chooses to be. Her alchohlic mom's boyfriend, Billy, molests her anytime he can. She's 12 and she said it's been happening since she was 8. She tried to tell ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Ashley B for

Twelve-year-old Gemma is enjoying her young life on the outside, but she has a secret. She is being sexually abused by Buddy, her mother's boyfriend. He sells her out to Hazen Woods, who pays $100 to have sex with Gemma.

Hazen, later on, kidnaps Gemma, and they drove all over the country. She tried to get away, but he always found her. She gave up. Nobody would listen if she asked for help; no one would help her. She can't tell anyone anything, because Bud
This book was disturbing. For obvious reasons (it's the story of a little girl's kidnapping by her mother's abusive boyfriend's friend who is convinced the little girl is in love with him) and not so obvious reasons. Gemma's life is a laundry list of bad from the gate, and she does have good things in her life, she's crazy smart and she's got a new pet turtle that she loves, but that doesn't mean the bad things aren't really bad. And the villain in the story is the most appalling individual I've ...more
After reading her "Singing Songs," I wanted to read "Gemma," which was the book which first introduced Meg Tilly as author to me. Like "Singing Songs," this is both an ugly book and a beautiful book. Gemma, a 12 year old child, has been sexually molested by her mother's boyfriend since she was 8. At 12, she is sold for an evening to Hazen Wood, who assaults her all night long and then becomes so obsessed with her that he kidnaps her. Thus Gemma's hell intensifies and life seems to be one long mo ...more
Mar 19, 2007 Heather rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people with an interest in sex crimes
This book is very graphic. It's the story of a small girl's kidnapping and subsequent repeated rapes. It's told from the perspective of both the captor and the victim. I read this book in one day and it left me drained and tainted just from knowing that somewhere such a thing is really occurring.
Candace Avalon
This was a powerful story, that kept me reading. With difficult subject matter that is heart-breaking in the sense that it shows you the true innocence of children, and how willing they are to please the people around them, but also how they are willing to fight for survival. I felt a myriad of emotions that always led to a sense of hope for Gemma to be saved in the end, because she is such a wonderful girl. Also Boxcar was a favorite of mine, but almost made me cry for the suffering he and his ...more
Evelio Zavala
Though Gemma has signs of hope even in despair, could it be interpreted of just her being naive? Still, Gemma has helps bring raw emotions into a subject that is very possible to happen, with both sympathy and hatred on the line, with the power of denial holding people back, it shines how some people just want to turn their heads away. Reading this, you will try to turn away, but the power and soul of Gemma won't let you as she hasn't given up and how could you? Though the ending will divide rea ...more
I won won this book through goodreads and I'm glad I did. I probably wouldn't have read it otherwise and it was definitely worth reading.
The subject matter of this book is very sad especially knowing that the author experienced something similar in her own life.
Gemma is a wonderful character. She's funny, sweet and vulnerable. The only thing that didn't quite fit was sometimes she talks about things that don't suit her age. I can understand that she would be more mature than a normal 12 year ol
Jennifer - The Book Admirer
Gemma by Meg Tilly is a story about a 12 year old girl who is abused and sexually assaulted by her mother's boyfriend Buddy, and later by Buddy's friend Hazen. This is not a story to read for entertainment, but for the overwhelming feeling of hope you gain at the end of the book. After everything Gemma has been through in her young life she hasn't let it break her. With the help of her adoptive mother and father she finds her strength in placing blame where it belongs and begins her journey of m ...more
This book was extremely difficult to read at times. As a young woman I wanted to shout and shake Gemma — to tell her she is worth more than she's been raised to believe, to tell her she deserves better. Gemma's voice came off very authentic, and as difficult as it was to read, I'm really glad I did.

It was also difficult to read Hazen's thoughts about Gemma and his view of the world. He is so self-obsessed and a dirty pedophile. His part is written in what seems like third-person omniscient, but
I got this book through Goodreads First Reads.
This book is so hard to describe...
Words like sad, scary, touching, relevant, disturbing, graphic, heartbreaking, crazy, compelling, difficult-to-read and hard-to-put-down, all come to mind.
I had a really hard time reading it, started it and was so disturbed in the beginning, I felt like this book needs to be hidden from view, never to be seen again. I finally picked it up months and months later, took a deep breath and finished reading without putti
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brittney Musick
I knew going in that this would be a tough book to get through, which was why I was somewhat reluctant to listen to it on audio book, but it was the only version I was able to find, so I had to take what I could get. While Meg Tilly's performance and writing were incredible, I still can't help feeling like I need to go shower after reading something so deeply disturbing.

Twelve-year-old Gemma has been sexually abused by her mother's boyfriend, Buddy, for years, but when he sells her to Hazen Wood
this is a disturbing book about young gemma (she's twelve) and her abuser, hazen wood. gemma's step-father has been abusing her since she was eight. he sells her to his friend, hazen for $100. what should be one night of sex for hazen becomes an obsession. he seeks out young gemma at her school and home. he continually calls her just to hear her voice. eventually, hazen kidnaps gemma and travels with her across the country repeatedly raping and abusing her.

this is some tough material to wade thr
Stephanie Loy Son
I first picked up this book at Chapters because it was on those "to read" tables and I thought I would give it a go. So I borrowed it from the library and was glad to have saved $20. "Gemma" is about a twelve year old girl named Gemma who is kidnapped and sexually abused by an obsessed man named Hazen. The novel is awfully graphic and can be extremely uncomfortable sometimes. It's eye opening to the abuse that is going on right now anywhere in the world.

What I liked the most about this book was
Feb 14, 2010 Shanna rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who are not faint of heart
I won this twice: here on goodreads and on librarything (isn't that weird?!).

Review: I found it difficult to get into this book at first because the subject matter is so disturbing. I started off reading just a few pages at a time and having to put down the book for a few days. I didn’t feel like being depressed and uneasy around Christmas…However, I would say the first half of the book is the worst, in terms of squeamish stuff.
What makes you want to read the book is Gemma’s attitude. I could
book summary: After Hazen Wood kidnaps twelve-year-old Gemma Sullivan, the two embark upon a cross-country journey that tests the limits of Gemma's endurance. In graphic scenes of physical and sexual violence, Hazen tries to destroy the young girl's will. It is only Gemma's childlike resilience and fertile imagination that protect her from the worst of the trauma she suffers. And in the end, it is only the healing power of unconditional love that gives Gemma the courage to speak out against her ...more
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Meg Tilly is a Canadian-American actress and novelist. She is best known for her performances in "The Big Chill" (1983), "Agnes of God" (1985), "Valmont" (1989), and the television series "Bomb Girls" (2012–13). Tilly received an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe Award in 1986 for her work in "Agnes of God", and the Leo Award in 2013 for her lead role in "Bomb Girls". Tilly has written f ...more
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