Publisher: Self Published
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Everything in Arabelle’s life is coming together. She has confidence, great friends, she’s even dating Naak, a wealthy Thai socialite. But there are too many models in Bangkok. Arabelle’s broke, she can’t find an agent in New York, and Naak isn’t as wonderful as he first appears. Slowly the Shadows creep back into Arabelle’s mind, bringing with them thoughts of hopelessness and despair. The vile Shadows know something Arabelle’s refusing to remember and, if she’s not careful, they’ll use it to destroy her. Based on a true story, ARABELLE’S SHADOWS takes us on a journey through the struggles of growing up, not quite making it as an international model, and attempting to overcome a crushing depression.
ARABELLE’S SHADOWS doesn’t really sound like a book I’d typically read, and I think it’s exoticness was what drew me in. I have never been to Bangok and it’s highly unlikely I’m ever going to be a model, so ARABELLE’S SHADOWS offered me a way to experience a different type of life. And it ended up being darker than I expected.
The novel is narrated by Arabelle in diary like entries, a format of story telling I tend to find boring. However we aren’t stuck with the present in this book. Arabelle discusses her life now, her childhood, and her starting years as a model. We follow her struggle with depression and drugs, her bad luck with guys, and her journeys around the world as she attempts to become a famous model. This really is a book for older readers, and I’d be wary if things like suicide, cutting, drugs and all that stuff trigger anything with you. For me, however, it was a look into a life I’ve never experiences and hopefully never will. I related to the way Arabelle felt at times, understood the feelings perfectly, but I was luck that my friends and family and book would always do something to cheer me up before it progressed to anything worse.
Romance wise, this book was annoying. Arabelle’s love life and sexuality is discussed a lot, but there’s never really one true relationship that develops (which is okay because this is a book about overcoming the darkest parts of life). Arabelle’s obsession with Naak was incredibly annoying. And her fixations on all the other guys earlier in her life too. She just zoned in on that one person and it never ended well. Then there’s the whole thing with what Arabelle blocked from her memory that is so sad and horrifying. I’d hate to be in that situation ever, no one ever should be. And I wish it was something else that woke Arabelle up.
My favourite parts of this book tended to be Arabelle’s childhood and family, and her travelling years. Like I said, her life is so completely different to mine and it was good to read about. Heart breaking to read about too, Arabelle did not go through a lovely rainbow and unicorn childhood, but I think it’s helped me understand people who struggle with depression a little more, and to understand why they do what they do in attempts to rid themselves of the pain. I also enjoyed reading about all the different countries Arabelle went to, and wish she hadn’t been so fixated on guys she couldn’t have (and really should not have wanted.)