Adult Book Review · Mini Review

Did Not Finish: The Lauras by Sara Tayler (Spoilers Ahead)

The Book:

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Book Title: Shadow and Bone

Book Author: Sara Taylor

Page Count: 304

Publishing Date: August 1st, 2017

Publisher:Hogarth Press

Synopsis: I didn’t realize my mother was a person until I was thirteen years old and she pulled me out of bed, put me in the back of her car, and we left home and my dad with no explanations. I thought that Ma was all that she was and all that she had ever wanted to be. I was wrong. As we made our way from Virginia to California, returning to the places where she d lived as a child in foster care and as a teenager on the run, repaying debts and keeping promises, I learned who she was in her life-before-me and the secrets she had kept even from herself. But when life on the road began to feel normal I couldn’t forget the home we’d left behind, couldn’t deny that, just like my mother, I too had unfinished business.

This enigmatic pilgrimage takes them back to various stages of Alex s mother s life, each new state prompting stories and secrets. Together they trace back through a life of struggle and adventure to put to rest unfinished business, to heal old wounds and to search out lost friends. This is an extraordinary story of a life; a stunning exploration of identity and an authentic study of the relationship between a mother and her child.

           banlink           goodreads


Mini Review (DNF):

The synopsis for this book really drew me in. I was hopeful for a self-discovery/ coming of age story for Alex (13-14 years old) and Alex’s mother. The first 50 pages were beginning to offer just what I was looking for. Unfortunately, when I reached pages 55-57, I could not finish the book.

Of what I read so far, I found out that Alex’s mother dragged Alex out of bed, in the middle of the night, to take off after a fight with Alex’s father. The two drove for a while and decided to stop at a road side diner and motel. Alex ‘s mother picked up a waitressing job, leaving Alex alone during the day. Before Alex’s mother had decided to take the job and stay, Alex had snuck over to the post office and sent a cryptic postcard to their father letting him know that Alex and Alex’s mother were alright. After about 3 months of living there, the cops showed up. Was it because of the postcard? No one knows, but Alex assumed.

So, they took off again and Alex’s mother found a run down apartment to rent, and decided to stay and put Alex back in school. It is here we I saw the beginnings of Alex’s coming age. Alex admitted that they had never quite felt like a boy or a girl, leading me to believe Alex to be gender fluid (which is great by the way, since we are only beginning to see gender fluid characters in literature). Alex started having self-discovery feelings of desire that they tried to address (again, part of coming of age as a teenager). Up until now, the story had been intriguing and interesting.

It was when Alex decided to take off by themself to take a bus to another location so they could send their father another postcard when the story started to go downhill for me. Alex kept addressing feelings of wanting to go back with their father and not knowing why their mother practically kidnapped them with no explanation. They sent their postcard, and ended up having to hitchhike back to the apartment. Alex’s first ride was a pleasant one with a caring woman. The second one is where I could not continue.

(Rape Trigger Warning)

Alex gets in a car with an older man, who proceeds to pull his genitals out of his pants. He locks Alex in the car and pretty much forces them (Alex being only 14 I believe) to perform oral sex. The writer went in to graphic detail about the entire scene, and it made me sick to my stomach.

So that scene, along with the fact that Alex’s mom pretty much kidnapped them, and had apparently been planning it for a while, with no explanation, just turned me off of the story. That graphic scene has made me not want to read anything further. The author had a great writing style, and I was drawn in for the first 50 pages, despite feeling awkward about the “kidnap”, but I did not agree with the choice to describe the forced oral sex scene.

This is my personal preference and opinion that I do not enjoy scenes like this. If you have read this and enjoyed it, I would love to hear your thoughts! I had thought about continuing past the scene, but I was so turned off by it, I just can’t bring myself to keep reading. Let me know in the comments if you would have DNF’d a book after a scene like that too.

Thank you to Blogging for Books for providing me with this free review copy in exchange for my honest review!


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21 thoughts on “Did Not Finish: The Lauras by Sara Tayler (Spoilers Ahead)

      1. It’s one of the reasons I stopped watching Game of Thrones even though I liked the show and I love the books. I am just at the point where I know I don’t want to deal with it, so I refuse. I’m glad you brough it up in your review — I think there should be more warnings about this kind of content!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am glad you mentioned GOT!! I have had so many people tell me to watch it but I do not enjoy graphic sex or rape scenes at all!! I feel like all the descriptions of the sex in that show prove that its there for ratings. And I was told about a horrible rape scene on a wedding night. No thank you!

        I completely agree that there should be way more warning out there about this kind of stuff!


  1. This was one of the books from Blogging for Books that I thought I might want to read, but had heard several people DNF’ng it for many reasons, one of them being that of the journey for Alex. I don’t think I would be able to finish that either, so sadly I passed on it. Hopefully your next read is better and more enjoyable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks girl! I can see why Alex’s journey could be a reason to DNF. Alex starts having curiosity about their body but also has thoughts about being a freak because of it, so it may have been a little offensive as far as those who are gender fluid figuring out who they are. But that forced oral sex scene was just too graphic for me to keep going. I am glad you didn’t waste a choice on this one! i hope to find a better choice next! ❤


      1. That’s a journey I’d more looking forward to reading about, even with several of those tough moments. I don’t think I’d be able to go through the whole kidnapped with a mother that seems to be all about herself, and graphic sexual scenes that bring nothing to their story. I opted for a few cookbooks this time around lol. Needed something lighter after reading Room and Girl With the Red Balloon.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally understand where you’re coming from, I hate reading graphic scenes like that. Having them implied is one thing and I understand that they can be important plot points, but they don’t need to be graphically described to the readers, especially if the readers had gone through something similar

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it would have gone much smoother if it had just been implied rather than described. I am very fortune to have never had to experience anything like that, but I still hate reading or watching it and I cannot even imagine how it would make someone feel who has had to suffer through that!

      Thanks for your feedback! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh god, I can see why that would leave you unable to continue! I did read a post ages ago which raised the discussion of whether or not books should have trigger warnings on the cover or blurb, as a way of forewarning readers who might find certain themes upsetting. I sometimes think it wouldn’t be a bad idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think trigger warnings are a great idea! This was not a trigger for me because I have never had to experience anything like that, but I still feel disgusted by the graphic description of the scene. I can’t even imagine how someone who has been through that would feel with no warning while reading this book!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Being a fan of graphic horror I guess I’m used to unsettling scenes in books so I don’t generally DNF a book based on one scene-unless is was shocking animal cruelty or sexual abuse using toilet functions as that makes me ill. So I fully get why you didn’t want to go on with this one. Sometimes books do use a shocking scene like that for impact but it does bother some readers when they don’t expect it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m usually okay with horror scenes and violence, its just the graphic sex scenes I am not a fan of. And I definitely am not a fan of rape scenes. That scene was definitely rape since he locked her in the car and forced her to perform, and it would not have been so bad if it wasn’t described in detail, but the author chose to describe the feel and taste of it, which I found highly disgusting. Thanks for your thoughts. I know a lot of readers would be okay with reading on, just not me, lol.


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