Stronger Than You Know


How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Albert Whitman and Company

Previously reviewed by the same author:
The Summer I Found You


After police intervention, fifteen-year-old Joy has finally escaped the trailer where she once lived with her mother and survived years of confinement and abuse. Now living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in a comfortable house, she’s sure she’ll never belong. Wracked by panic attacks, afraid to talk to anyone at her new school, Joy’s got a whole list of reasons why she’s crazy. With immense courage, Joy finds friends and grows closer to her new family. But just when hope is taking hold, she learns she must testify in her mother’s trial. Can she face her old life without losing her way in the new one? Will she ever truly belong in a world that seems too normal to be real?


Sometimes a book like Stronger Than You Know is exactly what I’m looking for in a read. I thought the synopsis sounded intriguing and moving, so I went with it and requested this book. It didn’t take me long to read. I also appreciated how the author tackled mental health and anxiety. As a long term sufferer of anxiety, I could relate to the main character, even though I am lucky enough to not have experienced what she had. I think it’s really important that mental health is tackled in Young Adult literature as it is so common yet so rarely tackled. The story isn’t perfect, but I still think it’s a decent, quick read.

I loved Joy as a character. I couldn’t begin to understand how she felt after suffering such abuse at the hands of her mother and her mother’s terrible boyfriends. It’s characters like this, and people like this in real life that I find admirable. They nearly always find that inner strength in order to move on with the rest of their lives. I also loved how honest she was a character. She knew she wasn’t quite right yet and had a mountain to climb with her fears, but she started to move on and she was strong enough to acknowledge that it was going to take some time to find some normality.  She kept fighting because she wanted to move past her horrible upbringing and move forward with her new family. I just love that strength of character. She grew so much throughout the book. I love characters that develop so well.

Joy’s family, her Aunt, Uncle and her cousins, that she was placed with were also incredibly well written. I adored the pure love that her Aunt and Uncle gave her, despite not knowing the full story about what happened to them. It was lovely to read about someone placed with a family member and actually getting on with them. I also appreciated how the rest of the family had their flaws too. It was realistic!

Being ultra critical, healing and growing is all the book is really about. Therefore if you’re looking for a story with a bit more of a plot then this isn’t it. Stronger Than You Know is about healing after terrible incidents and finding out who you are with the love of family to guide you.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Perfect for fans of strong character development contemporaries!


7 thoughts on “Stronger Than You Know

  1. I don’t even know how I missed this book on NetGalley! I’ve just requested it now; fingers crossed that I’ll be approved! I loved The Summer I Found You, so I’m really excited to see what Perry will do with her second book 🙂

  2. I love contemporaries that are all about character development, and the strengths they gain throughout the novel.

    This book sounds really interesting, and I am quite keen to give it a go! I agree with you that mental health is not adequately addressed in YA novels, even though teens deal with mental health issues on a daily basis.

    It sounds like there was finally at least a bit of an HEA in this book, at least in regards to the Aunt and Uncle that Joy goes to live with.

    This story really sounds like Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller, which I absolutely LOVED. So I definitely recommend that title to you, Chrissi!

    • Oh, I shall put that book on my wishlist Chiara, thanks for the recommendation. I also really enjoy contemporaries where you can see the character grow so much! I hope that (if you do check out this book) you enjoy it!

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