Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
ANNA BEGINS is composed of two stories. The focus is on the lives of two teens, each with personal life issues no one should have to face.
Melissa's story is told through various voices, although her voice comes through loud and clear. An overly critical mother and low self-esteem combine to create her problem. She abuses laxatives in an attempt to become the daughter her mother desperately wants, while Melissa slowly becomes the girl she doesn't want to be. She tries to make cries for help, but does anyone hear? All the people around her add their thoughts to the story, filling in the frightening facts she is too scared to reveal.
Elly's story is one of abuse. There is evidence to make what she suffers obvious to those around her, but they don't leap to her rescue. Excuses are made and heads are turned to avoid the obvious. There is one who could help her, but his love blinds him to the truth. His innocence and inexperience doesn't let him recognize the problem until it gets beyond his control. Elly's only recourse is to take matters into her own hands.
Jennifer Davenport takes readers into some very dark places in ANNA BEGINS. It is a challenging read that asks readers to focus on multiple story angles, while at the same time keeping an eye on the main character. Those who stick with it will be rewarded.