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The Bad Girl

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New York City. 1971. Meet Riley Madison, a pugnacious, young woman who makes her living in Times Square; Samson, her feisty, devoted cat; Fitz Darcy, the larger-than-life Vietnam vet; and Bennie Sadowski, the compassionate Holocaust survivor.

It is against this seedy neon backdrop of an already over-crowded city where the homeless huddle on cardboard beds and muggings are the nightly entertainment, that Riley finds herself in a less than perfect world always looking over her shoulder, always running from poverty and a violent past marginally kept at bay. But she’s a survivor. And just when she believes things are taking a turn for the better, tragedy strikes. She loses everything. With her life once again spiraling out of control, as Riley struggles to stay one step ahead of the dangerous underworld that sees her as nothing more than prey—prey whose internal armor is about to be tested in ways she never imagined—she’s suddenly forced to question whether those survival instincts she’s relied on for so long will be enough this time. Can she do it alone?

Survival in the animal world is a simple concept. Survival in the human world is not.

156 pages, Paperback

First published November 1, 2015

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About the author

L. Donsky-Levine

1 book54 followers
L. Donsky-Levine was born and raised in New York and where according to her mother, she was writing before she even walked, telling those stories with a twig in the dirt. But it would take a lifetime, her "Hello" letter from AARP and the raising of a family before that career as storyteller would come to fruition. In her trademark witty and wise fashion, she crafts stories crossing all genres, all emotional landscapes of the heart about characters dealing with all the things life could possibly throw their way. The Bad Girl is her debut novella. She currently lives in South Florida with her family.

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Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Whispering Stories.
2,601 reviews2,552 followers
June 5, 2017
The Bad Girl is under 200 pages long, but it’s one of the most intense novellas I have read. It packs an emotional punch, exploring the life of Riley Madison, a 22-year-old barely getting by in early 70s New York.

It’s 1971 and the Big Apple is rife with crime. It’s on the streets and down in the subway. We’re introduced to an area called ‘The Deuce’, a stretch of block ‘packed ear to ear’ with illicit drugs, sex and violence.

In the midst of this seedy backdrop is Riley, the eponymous ‘Bad Girl’. However, Donsky-Levine doesn’t let us know much about her until chapter three, not even her name. Throwing a curveball from the very beginning, The Bad Girl actually begins from the viewpoint of Riley’s cat, Samson.

Being a cat, Samson doesn’t know names, referring to Riley as ‘Girl’, but Samson – being a cat – can sense her desperate sadness and fear. He’s not sure why she feels this way, but he does all he can to comfort her. This relationship works both ways; Riley takes in strays, including Samson, and feeds local street cats, possibly seeing aspects of herself and her vulnerability in them, feeling compelled to help. It’s just that no one is there to help her.

Samson can’t protect her from everyday life. Getting on the subway in chapter two, she is attacked by a group of women. This is witnessed by a Vietnam war veteran named Fitz, who, like Samson, feels the need to look after Riley.

Chapter three and we finally discover Riley’s name – although she is referred to as ‘Cat Girl’ first – and profession. She works in the sex trade. Identities don’t mean much there. Donsky-Levine’s description of Riley’s workplace is raw, pragmatic and horrific. Riley mentally distances herself from the true horrors of her job by seeing it as ‘what she had to do to survive’. It was a routine.

Things change when she’s no longer able to work. No work equals no income, and no income means she is kicked out of her flat. With nowhere to go, we follow Riley as she gets more and more desperate, reaching particularly harrowing low points that are difficult to read:

‘That’s when the cry that had been clawing away at the edge of her throat like a wounded animal, broke free.’

Luckily for Riley there is a turning point in sight, as her good deed of helping local animals benefits her. She is taken in by Bennie Sadowski, a volunteer at the local animal shelter, who is revealed to be a survivor of the Holocaust. Here she starts to rebuild her life and her trust in men, as she happens to become reacquainted with Fitz (the war veteran from chapter two).

Bennie poignantly recognises a similarity in himself and Riley: ‘Perhaps, my young friend… we are both broken. Ja? Perhaps there is a reason we have come together.’

This novel takes more twists and turns as it continues, with Donsky-Levine revealing more about Riley’s past. It’s fair to say her life is played out as an emotional rollercoaster, with the reader on board from the seat behind Riley.

It takes a deliberate while to get to know Riley, which builds suspense and maintains momentum throughout The Bad Girl. Donsky-Levine’s descriptions of the bad side of New York are particularly vivid too. Ultimately, The Bad Girl is gripping and shocking, and I’d recommend reading through in as few sittings as possible.

Reviewed by Abby on www.whisperingstories.com
Profile Image for Maxine (Booklover Catlady).
1,286 reviews1,257 followers
July 5, 2016
I have this brilliant novella available for review at the moment (July 2016). If you would like to read and review it please email me at booklovercatlady@gmail.com for your ebook copy.

Wow. Just wow...talk about an emotional whammy.

I was sucked into this novella like I fell into a black hole, from the first page I was mesmerised by the talented writing of L. Donsky-Levine. This was, in my opinion written incredibly well. This is not a light read by any means, it's very emotional and tackles some of the darker sides of human nature and life. Touches on the people who live in those lives we would dread to be in. Shares with us the sheer shame of what one human being can do to another. This character driven book really got under my skin.

1971. Riley Madison is always looking over her shoulder. And always running. From poverty, from abuse, from a childhood snuffed out by a junkie mother, and a violent past marginally kept at bay. This twenty-two-year-old New Yorker lives in her less than perfect world where her only friend is a cat, and when not self-medicating with Twinkies, Oreos and cigarettes, she works at a Times Square sex emporium servicing anyone who can pay.

The books starts with one of Riley's cats talking to us, this may sound ridiculous, or that it would not work in a book with this much depth, but it adds to it. It was genius. For when your own cat feels sorry for your life and your plight and wants to make you happy you know that you are pretty darn alone. Riley's sad solitude is emphasised by her loving cat. I related, so much as a cat owner and a woman who has experienced extreme solitude and isolation in life at times.

Do you know what a glory-hole is? No? Well, prepare to be educated. I am pretty unshakeable as a reader but the way the author portrays Riley's sad and horrible life really and truly broke my heart. I knew girls and women like this many years ago, and I also know that this is REALITY for many today. Riley could be a real person. Heck, maybe she is.

I loved her character, despite so much going against her she is tough, gritty and determined and strong. I loved the way her heart was soft towards animals in need whilst being closed and hardened to human beings. Why? Guess which one treats her better? Says a lot about humanity today right?

The plot is brilliant, we follow Riley though so much she goes through (no spoilers) and every now and then her cat pops up to tell us how things are from another perspective. Bravo! A different element that should not have worked, but it did. I could not take my eyes off the pages. This one moved me to the point of having tears brimming in my eyes in moments and feeling outrage at events at other times. I was lost in the journey of Riley.

I liked this a lot, don't dismiss this novella, it was a quick read for me but had so much packed in that it left me very satisfied as a reader. Highly recommended from me. I fluctuated with the final rating, have decided it's a 4.5 but have to push up to a 5.0 rather than down based on some key strengths. I won't ever forget this book. Ever.

Thanks so much to the author for my copy of this fantastic book to read and review.

For more of my book reviews, plenty of awesome books to win, and author Q&A events come to: https://www.facebook.com/BookloverCat...

To follow me on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/promotethatbook

Profile Image for PattyMacDotComma.
1,397 reviews802 followers
May 15, 2017

Riley is a mess, but she has cats, and her cats love her, especially Samson. Samson narrates the first chapter, which may appeal to cat-lovers and would certainly have appealed to Riley, who carries him with her in her backpack when she’s evicted. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

She’s a school drop-out, abandoned at 12 by her druggie mother, and whose livelihood in New York City depends on her ability to satisfy the men whose fancies she tickles when they poke them through the hole in the whorehouse wall. Not sexy, not violent, but graphic enough to put off anyone with tender sensibilities.

“Like a Chinese smorgasbord, they’d pick a booth, shut the door behind them, and a window would open. There they would select a girl from the menu of delicacies, and separated by a glass window, she’d give a private show. Ten bucks would give you five minutes. And for another ten . . ."

She’s living in a crummy flat with her de-clawed cats, and she takes milk to feed the strays in the alleys near work. A combination of events lands her in an even worse situation: ill, attacked, homeless, and hopeless.

Her only friendly acquaintance is the old Holocaust survivor who runs an animal shelter where he finds homes or provides sanctuary himself. Riley has brought him many strays, and he’s got a bit of a soft spot for her, not knowing anything about her.

There are some uncomfortable truths, and the author says this in an interview:

“As a victim of sexual molestation, as a little girl, as a woman grappling with the shame, the stigma, and the anger I felt toward people and their reality blinders, I knew one day I would write about it, I just didn’t know when. And the strange thing was, I was in the middle of writing a completely different book when the idea of it came back with such full force, and I knew this had to come before all else.”

This has some good things going for it. I liked Riley and the old bloke and a Vietnam vet she meets, but I found the writing uneven, some very good, some awkward. I wasn’t crazy about Samson the cat’s input, I’m afraid.

A good editor would suggest alternatives to phrases like “So terrifying, a razor sharp chill was now making its way down her spine like brushfire”, and also “For what seemed like a long continuum of time . . . ”

Thanks to the author and Booklover Catlady publicity for my review copy. https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2...

I’m sure we’ll see more from this author.
Profile Image for Linda Strong.
3,882 reviews1,630 followers
July 8, 2016
Set in New York City in the early 1970’s, this book takes a hard look at Riley Madison. She’s a 22-year-old woman working in the sex trade in order to survive. She has no friends, only her cats. Riley feels like she’s stuck in quicksand… going nowhere fast.

Due to an illness, she is unable to work for a couple of months. No work equals no pay. She finds herself homeless, living on the street.

This is an emotionally hard story to read. There but for the Grace of God …

She meets some really interesting characters along her journey, some really good, some really bad. She finds it very hard to trust anyone and she’s afraid anyone wanting to help her has an ulterior motive.

Very well-written, this one will have the reader’s emotions all over the place. Definitely does not read like a debut novel. This is not light reading. Be prepared to read in one sitting … you will not be able to put it down until the very end.

Many thanks to the author / Booklover Catlady Publicity who provided a digital copy in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Profile Image for ReadAlongWithSue .
2,655 reviews170 followers
September 23, 2016

This has been a review I needed to sit on for a while.

This is full on raw emotions, it could happen to anyone.
This is the 1970's and Riley's way of making a living is in the sex trade.

She has some experiences that you could only gulp at. She has to work in the most oldest profession known to man to keep her head above water.

Then she gets sick. The money she relied on is now no longer and she finds herself homeless.

This authors writing shares with the reader the darkest pits of human life. When times are so hard you can't find your way out, when life like this seems 'normal'.

I loved how at the beginning, it started out with Riley's cat doing all the talking. You wonder for a moment where you are.
Animals pick up on moods and sensitive to they're surroundings, the cat was what kept Riley from total isolation.

This is a journey. Its a unique start to a story and a brilliant one.

Profile Image for Terry Tyler.
Author 27 books565 followers
January 23, 2016
4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber's Review Team

I liked this book a lot. It's witty, sharp, unusual, touching and so well written. Set in downtown New York in the 1970s, this is a fairly long novella about Riley, a lonely girl working in the sex trade with no company except her beloved cats, and Fitz, a one-armed Vietnam vet.

I read in the author's bio that she's a native New Yorker, and her knowledge of and love for the city is so apparent in this story. It's what I think of as warts-and-all New York, the impression I had of it when I was growing up—more 1970s cop show than Carrie Bradshaw and Mr Big!

The story is mostly told from Riley's point of view, but there are some lovely bits through the eyes of cat Samson, the last one of which made me cry. It's not like anything else I've read for some time, and unlike some novellas that seem as though they're a novel squashed into something too short, this is exactly the right length. There's an element of dark comedy to it, too. I loved Riley, Fitz, Samson and old Bennie Sadowitz who befriends Riley in her hour of need. You will, too :)

It's great - Ms L-D is a terrific writer and I'd like to read more by her. Definitely recommended.

Profile Image for Tayler Steele.
138 reviews
July 11, 2016
Thanks to Booklover Catlady Publicity for a copy of this novella in exchange for an honest review!

I could not put this novella down.

It was impossible not to fall for these characters. Each one will tug on your heartstrings in different ways, because each one is so unique. Riley, the rough and tough city girl hiding a heart of gold and trying to beat the odds; Bennie, the saint and savior; Fitz, the hippy veteran who believes in others despite all the reasons not to. I just can't get over how amazingly well written these characters were. I was engrossed from the first page.

Being a novella, the pacing varies between several chapters focused on a 1-2 day time span to a chapter covering several weeks. As a reader, you're hardly ever stuck in those "filler" moments where you're wondering why the author added that content. Every page has a purpose here, making the novella a definite page turner as you race to follow along in Riley's life to see if she makes it.

I definitely recommend this novella to anyone who enjoys gritty content with gritty but heartwarming characters, novels about the 1960s-1970s in America, and/or novels about city life and NYC.
Profile Image for April Wood.
Author 3 books53 followers
December 27, 2015
The Bad Girl was so engrossing, I finished it within one sitting! Riley Madison’s character is troubled and disturbed. She is still a sympathetic character because her heart is kind. This novel would appeal to readers who enjoy angsty books about troubled women.
Though troubled, her kind acts warmed her to me. The secondary characters, on the other hand, weren't well developed and felt extra to me, and there were a couple scenarios in the novel that didn’t seem logical.
The ending was completely unexpected and bittersweet. It choked me up a bit because. in one way, it was sad and in another, it was freeing.
Overall, I really enjoyed this thought-provoking read and I would recommend it to fans of angsty, dark women’s fiction!

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an e-copy of this novel, in exchange for a fair, thoughtful, and honest book review. This in no way swayed my rating or review.

Full Book Review: https://aprillwood.wordpress.com/2015...
Profile Image for Lorna.
214 reviews17 followers
July 11, 2016
Personally speaking, I always feel like I'm taking a risk with short stories or novellas. There's a chance that the characters can be undeveloped and two-dimensional or that there is unnecessary padding. Not so in this one. Short and snappy but with enough character development, so that you feel like you are catching a brief glimpse into the window of someone's life.

That someone is Riley, only 22 years old but having already gone through a lifetime of drama she now finds herself jobless after a work related injury that no insurance company is going to pay out for. With no education, she finds the odd jobs she manages to get insufficient to maintain her apartment, so within a week she's both jobless and homeless with only the belongings she can fit into a backpack and her loyal cat Samson for company.

Although the story is called Bad Girl, Riley isn't a bad girl. She does what she has to in order to survive, and you can see from the opening lines which are told from the perspective of Samson, that she has a kind heart. Winning loyalty from a cat can be hard! What this novella does is challenge what you see from the outside, and gets you to look a little deeper. There are girls and women out there that feel they have no choice but to offer up their bodies in order to survive. There are obvious stigmas associated with "that type of woman" but rarely does someone ask what kind of life, what kind of history, what kind of background must someone have in order to live that kind of life?

L. Donski-Levine manages to do this within a very short space of time, which is no mean feat. The characters are well-rounded, with a glimpse into their personal histories, and we follow them to a climax that was totally unexpected. Well written, captivating and thought provoking, this deceptively short story packs a hard punch that will leave you reeling. 4 stars
Profile Image for Misfits farm.
1,699 reviews49 followers
July 13, 2016
3.5 * Riley has had to work in the oldest profession in town to keep her head above water. The love of her life is feline and one in particular tells us part of the story from his perspective. After being beaten up and simultaneously being thrown out, Riley is on the streets. Help comes from an unlikely source that she has only met once and also from someone who has watched her from afar.
An uplifting story of “bad girl” making good. Written with sympathy and empathy, Riley becomes a very likeable character who you find yourself rooting for to get that step up in life that sometimes we all require at times when we are low. A gritty novella in parts and well described. This is set in the 1970’s and includes some “lingo” not normally used on literature- fortunately there is a short “dictionary”.
This ended rather abruptly for me and I felt that another short chapter would have given this even more whilst still maintaining that air of mystery to the ending. This would have given it at least another star on the rating scale. Nevertheless an enjoyable read.
I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review
Profile Image for Barbara Tsipouras.
Author 1 book31 followers
July 10, 2016
It's not a pleasant book. Riley's story is a sad one. Even sader is the fact that there are so many people out there having made similar experiences. This novella shows the consequences to her ability to trust and to love. It describes her struggle to change her life.
Unlike others I'm not enthusiastic about the chapters from the cat's POV, that's probably because I don't have a cat.

I want to thank Maxine from Booklover Catlady Publicity for the free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Cathy Ryan.
1,149 reviews64 followers
February 9, 2016
Although this is a novella it packs a huge emotional punch. It’s a dark look at one very damaged girl’s fight to survive in 1970s New York. Riley Madison works in The Deuce, an area of Manhattan well known to the police and those who liked to indulge their individual pleasures. At just twenty-two, Riley does what she has to in order to survive. Her life has been a series of horrendous situations and, emotionally scarred, she can’t envisage herself ever having a better life. Despite it all, she endures.

The story is told mainly from Riley’s perspective but opens with Samson, Riley’s cat, her best and only friend, apart from the other stray cats she has collected, which serves to highlight her isolation and loneliness, unhealthy lifestyle and total lack of self-worth.

A turning point presents itself after Riley’s heartbreakingly sad existence takes a decidedly downward spiral. She visits the animal shelter with Samson and meets Bennie Sadowski again. But things get a lot worse for Riley before they begin to get better.

An extremely well crafted story, very poignant, powerful and moving, which had me choked up by the end. The plot and characters are wonderfully written with depth and realism. I can see how events could easily unfold in the way they are portrayed. The very striking comparison between the absolute best and complete worst of humanity is showcased by Bennie and Fitz, who is a Vietnam survivor. Two men who, despite their own problems, do their best to help Riley. Even though the story is brutal in parts there are lighter moments and flashes of humour. I enjoyed the character driven narrative, the excellent writing and the different slant the author takes on the subject of abuse. Look forward to more from L. Donsky-Levine.
1,056 reviews3 followers
September 6, 2016
This is a novella set in 1970s New York with a lovely cat called Samson. Samson is a Havana Brown.


He unwillingly shares his rather cramped flat with 4 moggies - and they are all indoor cats - they never venture out into the wide world.

They live with Girl.

Girl is lonely, a bookworm and has a very nasty landlord.

Fitz is a soldier returned from Vietnam who is an amputee and meets Girl after she loses her job in the sex industry (not as a prostitute she emphasises). Her job pays the bills, until one day it doesn't and everything starts to go wrong including Girl and Samson being eventually separated.

This is story of the restoration of humanity to the damaged Girl, the assassin and the holocaust camp survivor.
It is moving and at times difficult to read. Well crafted and considers serious topics that many authors would shie away from.
For a novella it packs a punch above its length.

I received this book as part of the AuthorsXP Read & Review program in return for a review.
Profile Image for Babus Ahmed.
792 reviews43 followers
February 1, 2016
This debut novella is set in New York, 1971, Reilly is a young girl fending for herself, she rescues animals but is very much as risk. Things get much darker and worse for Reilly after she is ejected from her home. She has a glimmer of hope in a man she meets at an animal shelter, but can things really be different for her?

This rather unusual novella is an engaging, if not difficult read. You cannot help but root for Reilly when so much has obviously damaged her in her short life. I was moved and left bereft in the end, but I'm glad I read this sensitive and emotional novella.
Profile Image for S.R. Mallery.
Author 19 books330 followers
March 29, 2016

Wow. What a powerful book! Real, gritty, shocking, not for the faint of heart, nevertheless, this one-of-a-kind novella/romance/personal portrait brings forth an important message: no matter life’s harrowing pitfalls or cruelties, no matter how crushed one’s soul is, there is a “winner” in each and every one of us. And when that winner inside starts to trust the right people, there’s a glimmer of hope . . . and justice.

Highly recommended for anyone looking for a truly unique, different kind of read.

Profile Image for Theweebarrell.
370 reviews9 followers
July 15, 2016
Thank you to booklover Catlady for this in exchange for an honest review

A really good book . I enjoyed this book and it had me going through every emotion from the beginning to end. It was well written and a good story line although short it had everything in it you could want and stays with you after reading it. recommended read
59 reviews20 followers
July 14, 2020
OUTCASTS OF SOCIETY. This novella begins as Riley's cat, Samson, tells his owner and protector's story. Samson thinks he is wonderful, quite opposite from Riley's opinion of herself. Samson is one of five cats living in her apartment. Riley loves animals and cannot see them being mistreated. She does not like or trust humans. She has many reasons not to.

Riley works at a sex emporium serving anyone who can pay. She's not qualified for better jobs. She has only a seventh grade education. She is on the dark side of humanity, overweight, unkempt, and poor, living in a rundown apartment building filling up on junk food, smoking too much. This is in 1971 when cigarettes were not considered poison.

She had a good relationship with her mom until she was ten. Then Mom became hooked on drugs. Riley has no idea who her father is. Mom was involved in prostitution and pole dancing. When Riley turned twelve, her mother sold her to a pervert who closed her in a cellar, abused her, allowed his friends to abuse her. Three years later, when she was fifteen, she was too old, too fat, the man threw her out.

She has two friends, a young man who has only one arm, a Viet Nam veteran, and Bennie Sadowski, an elderly man who volunteers in a no kill shelter who loves animals as much as Riley does. Bennie, a widower, had been in a concentration camp during World War II. Both men saw many friends die, both were fighting demons and ghosts and are succeeding. Fritz was in love with Riley, but she felt she was unlovable, could never feel she deserved with these men try to do for her. Bennie felt as though Riley was his own daughter. She felt she deserved the bad life, her furniture being tossed in the street, hanging out in Penn Station trying to find a place to sleep, she and her best and only friend, Samson. The two men tried to pull her from that life.


Someone told me homeless people deserve what they are getting. But do they really? Read the book.

The book is set in the teeming city of New York in 1971.

The book was sent to me for my comments. Here they are. The young woman's struggle is painful.
Profile Image for Roxie Prince.
Author 9 books63 followers
August 28, 2016
Read this review and more on my blog at [Roxie Writes].

'The Bad Girl' by L. Donsky-Levine
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5
Finished on August 25, 2016
$.99 on Kindle | $8.99 in Paperback

It's 1971, and Riley Madison is a wounded woman trying to live, but always running and always fearful. And she has reason to be after the life she's had. She's forced to make ends meet giving blowjobs in the seediest part of the city, and the only comfort she has in her life are the many cats she takes in off the streets. They're strays like her, and they can't hurt her because God knows everyone else can.

After her junkie mother abandoned her as a child, her life spiraled into chaos, abuse, and self-medication and isolation. When she gets sick at work and can no longer "suck dicks for a living", things get even worse, and she's forced to trust and rely on other people for the first time in her life.

Can she open her heart? Should she? Everyone she's ever known has hurt her in unimaginable ways, why should these two be any different?

I read this novella as part of my #yearofindiewomen. I was contacted by L. Donsky-Levine about reading/reviewing this book and given a free ebook copy in exchange for an honest review.

This is my favorite type of story. The sort of story I like to write myself. The sort of story about a woman who's been through some real shit, but is doing the best she can and still holds on, as tight as she can, to her softness even if it's hidden deep down beneath some rock-hard toughness.

I was hooked immediately as soon as I realized this story started out being told from the perspective of a cat. As an animal person, there is no quicker way to get my attention than to cleverly tell me the story from the POV of a pet, and Donsky-Levine's Samson is done so, so well. He's the best character in the story, in my opinion, and I looked forward to his chapters. Starting the story with his POV was a genius move.
Profile Image for Rajalakshmi Prithviraj.
Author 2 books31 followers
June 26, 2017
There are stories that leave an imprint in the hearts and minds of the readers. This book did just that for me. I read it in one session but the story never left me or my mind for the next few days.

The plot revolves around a girl who has to fight every odd that comes her way in order to survive. This story is about vulnerabilities, relationships and finding a home. It is a journey of self-discovery, of goodness and love.

Donsky's writings appeal to every sense that exists. It made me feel pain, hear the silent tears, see the scenes in my mind. It brought out every emotion within me. I felt I was a part of the story but in no postion to help out the protagonist. Narration is beautifully crafted and language is simple and easy to understand.

The author has worked wonders with characterisation. Every character has an important role to play in the story. The icing on the cake is the protagonist through whom the story is revealed.

Life can be strange. People tend to judge a person without realizing the pain he or she must be going through. Donsky Levine does full justice with her story by bringing out this aspect well. The author has also subtly brought out that goodness is always rewarded and good-hearted people see the goodness in others no matter what.

To sum up, this story is worth reading every time you lose faith in yourself or feel life is unkind. It is excellent, awesome, amazing. A definite must read.

P.S-Thank you Maxine and Booklover Catlady Publicity for letting me read an amazing novella in exchange of an honest opinion.
Profile Image for Agnes (BookBubbe).
802 reviews57 followers
August 3, 2016
When I was sent this book by the author to give an honest review, I wasn't sure I would like it. It didn't seem like my type of book. Especially when I received a note from the author saying "Just as a footnote, the book is a gritty and realistic snapshot of life; which means profanity and a small smattering of some graphic imagery are necessary in order to stay in that lane. I just wanted to give you that heads up before you dive in."

I am far from a prude, (and I live in NY - seen it all) so I went ahead and read it....actually I dove into it...If it wasn't for my other responsibilities I would have finished in a day. Riley's life is one that is all too common in this day and age. No parents to take care of her, she lives on the streets, barely getting by and doing whatever she has to in order to survive. (Gritty comes in here) But after she gets kicked out of her apartment and becomes sick, she is befriended by an old man who turns her life around.

I would have given it 5 stars except the ending threw me - it came as a surprise and at the same time it left me hanging....or is there a sequel to this book....what happened to Riley after that powerful ending? A quick and thought provoking read....
Profile Image for Kirsten .
19 reviews19 followers
September 16, 2016
I really liked this book! I couldn't put this book down. It left me wanting more. I wanted the story to continue and just read more. It's a love story but with a twist. The story was well told and well written. The background of Riley the main character was laid out nicely so you had a feel for what she had been through and what type of life she was used to. Then reading her story in Riley's present was all detailed well. In the beginning the story is told through the eyes of one of Riley's cats. The story is both told through Riley and here and there from her cats perspective. Riley is a tough, strong, independent woman who did what she had to do to get by in life. She is ill for a few months and unable to work which leaves her homeless so we get to read about her journey of being homeless and dealing with all that comes with that hard life situation. Trust becomes an issue for Riley and she finds it hard to do that with anyone. The ending was very unexpected, as I said I wanted more. The best word to describe the ending is bittersweet. I highly recommend this book. Great read and I can't wait to see what else this author has! I received a copy of this book at a promotional discount for my unbiased opinion.
Profile Image for Jessie Stevens.
Author 2 books4 followers
January 27, 2016
This was hard to read.

I wanted more.

It was a conundrum.

You see, as hard as it was to read about a girl attempting to pull herself out of some of life's most horrible situations, I still wanted to know more about her. This book, a novella really, is complete and full, it doesn't technically need more. But that's not stopping me from wanting it to have more.

The jumps in time throughout the story left me, not disoriented, but sad. I wanted to know how she'd been getting along when we weren't a party to it. I wanted more chapters by the cat, (One of the best cat point of views ever!). I just wanted... more.

Would I recommend it?
Ehh... Umm... Er... It was good, in a dark, gritty, shocking sort of way. But along with the grit is a measure of hope, love, a portrait of New York City in the 70's and an awful lot things to mull over when you've put the book down. I'm glad I read it but I wouldn't hand it to you until after we had chatted about it for a bit.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!
310 reviews9 followers
December 9, 2015
Good book sad ending

True life gritty story where the protagonist with the help of two people begins to blossom after an extremely screwed up childhood. After overcoming all of these disadvantages her mother, who sold her, shows and all bell breaks loose and like in real life things take a bad turn. Very sad, but realistic.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sandy Harris.
319 reviews1 follower
January 18, 2016
I received a copy of THE BAD GIRL via an online giveaway. THE BAD GIRL is a novella that’s sexually explicit and depressing at the beginning and gradually eases into more plot and character development. While the plot is predictable, I found myself rooting for the main characters so that when the story abruptly ended, I was wishing for more. The novella definitely has potential…
62 reviews
October 6, 2016

This is a raw and explosive novel. The story tells us how sexual exploitation can nearly destroy a young girl. Love for her pets forces her into further depravity just to provide food and shelter for all of them. Illness causes change and challenges her to confront the person who set her on this road to complete destruction.
Profile Image for Yasmin-marie.
35 reviews
February 25, 2016
Gripping, witty, and direct to the point storyline, the style of writing is very flowing so you do get a sense of the hustle and bustle of the setting through the Authors words. A good quick read which makes you want more!
1 review
January 25, 2016
Don't bother

The previous reviews written about this book must have been written by relatives of the writer! A waste of time.
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