Well-written first novel with interesting characters and an exciting plot.

The first few chapters of Double Crossed: Play the Hand You Are Dealt were difficult to swallow. Anthony Anthamatten sets up a gritty story ripe with the cruel reality. However, it is through this crushing start that the author builds his characters and reels in the reader. Once hooked, you can't help but follow through with the story to find out what happens.

Mattie was a character that I instantly connected with. Sixteen-years-old and all alone, Mattie tries to make her way through the world. Despite her experience of innocence, trouble entered her life and changed her forever. Mattie experiences something terrible, but unfortunately all too common for women.

Mattie stared out the car window, lost in thought. Her spirit felt as dull as the cold, gray day.

The story continues and introduces us to Stenson, a young boy with an abusive father trying to protect his mother and siblings from his rage.

Even though he was a little boy, Stenson had the fury of a grown man. He was ready to grab a knife from the kitchen and stab his father as he slept. Nobody would blame him if he did.

My heart broke for Stenson and his family. As a mother, it was tough to read about Stenson being afraid for his mother, while also trying to help take care of his brother and sister. Stenson reads a bedtime story, Where the Wild Things Are, to them and tucks them in with all the warmth and love a big brother should have.

Anthamatten made sure to address the reality of kids who don't have it easy growing up, while also showing that not everyone is a bad person. The reader will be rooting for the main characters all the way to the end of the book. In my opinion, this character-driven story is well worth the read.


I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. You can purchase it here.

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