Her name is Domino Ray.
But the voice inside her head has a different name.
When the mysterious Ms. Karina finds Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position at her girls’ home in secluded West Texas. With no alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the woman’s approval…and falling for Cain, the mysterious boy living in the basement.
But the home has horrible secrets. So do the girls living there. So does Cain.
Escaping is harder than Domino expects, though, because Ms. Karina doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, she doesn’t know about the danger living inside Domino’s mind.
She doesn’t know about Wilson.
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||5.60(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.40(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Victoria Scott is a teen fiction writer represented by Sara Crowe of the Harvey-Klinger Literary Agency. She’s the author of the FIRE & FLOOD series published by Scholastic, and the DANTE WALKER trilogy published by Entangled Teen. Her first stand-alone young adult title, TITANS, will be published by Scholastic in spring 2016. Victoria’s newest release, SALT & STONE, received a starred review by Kirkus Reviews, and the first book in the series, FIRE & FLOOD, has been nominated as a YALSA Teens’ Top 10 book for 2015. Victoria’s novels have been bought and translated in eleven foreign markets. She currently lives in Dallas, and hearts cotton candy something fierce.
Read an Excerpt
By Victoria Scott, Heather Howland
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Victoria Scott
All rights reserved.
People say blondes have more fun.
I snatch the wig off my head and toss it toward Greg. He catches it like a fly ball, his eyes never leaving my face. Leaning over in the chair, I dig through the pile of wigs he's brought me.
My fingers land on hot pink tresses that fall in long, sexy waves. Bingo, my friend, bingo. I slide the wig over my head, pull the straps until it's snug, and flip my head up like I'm a starlet in a soft-core porn. "Well?"
Greg claps his hands slowly, as if he's got all the time in the world. Judging by the lines around his eyes, I'm not sure that's true. "Fantastic."
"I'll take it." My thighs create a sucking sound against the leather chair as I stand. I like the sound, I decide. It makes it seem as if I have a little meat on my bones like a real woman. But a quick glance in the mirror tells me I'm still the shapeless girl I woke up as.
Greg fidgets as I stare at myself. Finally, in an attempt to make me feel better, he says, "Looks like you've put on some weight."
I smile at the lie and click toward the checkout counter in my super-duper high heels, the ones that make me look a hand taller than the five feet I stand. The second I think about my height, I hear Dizzy's taunting in my head: five feet, my ass.
"I am five feet," I grumble.
"What?" the counter girl asks.
I look up at her. She must be Greg's new girl. "Nothing," I answer. "How much?"
She clicks a few buttons on the register with shiny purple nails. I'm pleased that she chose a fun shade instead of the typical pink or red or — dare I speak it — a French manicure.
"Twenty-one dollars and forty-four cents," she announces. I glance at Greg, who's busy replacing the wigs onto creepy mannequin heads. I clear my throat. When he doesn't hear me, or pretends not to hear me, I decide to pay the full amount. He usually hooks me up with a discount, which he should, considering I'm here every week. I dig into my pocket for the cash, knowing Dizzy would give me hell for paying at all.
When I glance up at the cashier, she's looking at the underside of my left forearm, at the crisscrossed scars that nestle there. I instinctually pull it against my side. The girl straightens, realizing I've caught her staring. I think we're done with this awkward moment, but the girl isn't going to let this slide.
"What happened to your arm?" she whispers, as if that helps.
I shake my head, hoping that'll deter her from asking anything else. No such luck.
"It looks like you got in an accident or something."
I meet her eyes, my blood boiling, wanting so badly to shut her up. Instead, I slap the money on the counter and grab my pink wig. The bell chimes as I push open the glass door. "I'll be by next week."
On the streets of Detroit, the heat comes in waves. The pink faux hair dampens from my sweaty palm, and I silently curse the sun. It's so hot in the dead of summer that people are practically immobile. They sit on chairs outside their homes, and on benches near stores, and on the cracked sidewalks. And. They. Don't. Move.
Except, that is, to gawk as I pass by.
They ogle the blue wig falling past my shoulders and down my back, the one I'll replace tonight with the gem in my hand. They stare at my tattoo, the way it slithers down my exposed side. And they narrow their eyes at my pierced lip and wonder where else I may be pierced. What else I'm hiding.
They come to a conclusion: I am a freak.
And they are right.
I head down the sidewalk toward our home, the place where Dizzy and I live. The house doesn't really belong to us, but in this part of town it doesn't matter. No one cares. Certainly not the police. They have bigger problems to worry about than teenage kids squatting in an abandoned house.
Nearing our block, I notice a parked sedan. A guy leans against the side, smoking a cigarette. When he notices me, he nods. I put my head down and walk faster. If Dizzy were here, I'd lift my chin and lock eyes with the man. But he's not, so I don't.
I hear a whistle, and my head jerks back in the man's direction. He's smiling at me. It's not a terrible smile. He's got a mouthful of teeth. That's something. He turns so his body faces mine, and watches as I walk past. The man looks to be in his mid-twenties. He's wearing dark jeans and a proud white shirt, and even from here I can tell his nose is too big for his face. His cigarette dangles between his fingertips as he raises his arm and waves.
I wave back.
His eyes narrow when he sees the underside of my arm. I rip my hand down and walk faster. I don't want to see his reaction, but I can't help looking up one last time.
The lazy smile is gone from his face. A look of satisfaction has taken its place. He pulls a phone from his back pocket and makes a call, eyeing every step I take.
If I didn't know better, I'd think he just found something he'd been searching for.
I rush toward the end of the street, glancing at a nonexistent watch on my wrist like I have somewhere important to be. Behind me, I can feel the guy watching. I don't know why he looked at me the way he did, but I don't like it. Dizzy and I work hard to ensure no one notices us. The tattoos, the piercings, the loud clothing — you'd think it's to attract attention, but it has the opposite effect. It shows the world we're abnormal, and the world looks away.
Twice I look over my shoulder to check if I'm being followed. There's no one there either time, and I begin to feel like an idiot.
No one wants to follow you, Domino.
No one except a particularly determined social worker who's approached me more than once. This neighborhood is part of her territory, and underage strays are her passion.
Just thinking about the woman sends shivers down my spine. Her frizzy blond hair, the way her arms seem too long for her body like she wants nothing more than to snare me in them. Twice now she's followed me as I made my way home, speaking softly in her tweed business suit and scuffed black heels. I could hear what she was saying, but I didn't want to hear it. She's a paper pusher. Someone who pretends to care. In the end, I'd be another tick mark in her body count. Another dog off the streets, shoved into a kennel.
That's when they'd find out who I really am. What I am.
And then the badness would come.
Standing outside our house, I feel relief. Gray paint peels in frenzied curls, and the front light is broken. The grass is dead and half the windows are covered with boards. But the bones are strong. The house stands three stories tall and is an old Victorian build. This part of Detroit used to be glamorous, where all the rich people lived. But they built too close to the ghetto, hoping against hope that this section of the city would turn around. The opposite happened. The slums grew arms and legs and crawled toward their shiny homes and manicured lawns, and then swallowed them whole without remorse.
And now Dizzy and I have a home that used to be beautiful.
"What are you doing?" someone calls from the upstairs window.
I raise a hand to shade my eyes from the sun. When I see Dizzy's face, I have to stop myself from smiling. Instead, I shake my head as if I'm disappointed to be home and head toward the door.
"It's Friday, Buttercup, you know what that means." Somewhere above me, I hear Dizzy howl long and energetic like a prideful wolf.
I want to tell him not to call me Buttercup, that my name is Domino. But I don't. I just curl my hands into tight fists. I open my mouth wide.
And I howl right back.CHAPTER 2
SEE DIZZY FLY
Dizzy throws open the door and rushes toward me.
"Stop," I yell, holding my arms out.
The street-lamp-of-a-guy flips me over his shoulder and barrels into the house. I laugh when he tosses me onto a couch that may or may not harbor the Ebola virus. He places one long, skinny finger on my nose. "Where have we wanted to go for the last two months?"
I slap his hand away. "I don't know. Where?"
He taps his temple and bobs his head, dark curls bouncing against brown skin. "Think, Buttercup. Think."
So I do. My brain goes tick, tick, tick. And then my face pulls together and I crane my neck to the side. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?"
Dizzy jumps onto the makeshift coffee table we constructed and pretends to pound the surface with a king's staff. "Here ye, hear ye. I pronounce tonight the night we wreak Havoc."
"Havoc?" I say quietly. "No one gets in that club."
He nods and his curls kiss his long lashes. "I met someone who knows someone who said he could do something for someone like me."
"We're going to Havoc," I say again, because saying it again makes it real.
Dizzy raises his arms into the air, and I know that's my cue to react. I stand up and spring onto the couch. Then I jump up and down and he grabs my hands. He leaps onto the crusty couch beside me and we go up and down screaming that we're going to Havoc. That we're going to party like beasts, because we are beasts. I throw my arms around him before I remember that we don't do that. I hate being close to people and he hates being confined and this isn't okay.
"Gross. Get off me," he yells. "I can't breathe. I can't breathe!"
I let go, gladly, and Dizzy leaps back onto the floor. He looks like a spider doing it, all arms and legs. He's certainly as thin as one.
His brown eyes spark beneath thick, caterpillar eyebrows. "Get ready," he orders. Then he dashes up the stairs, each step burping from the weight.
I step down from the couch. Going to Havoc isn't that big of a deal for most people. I get that. But this is my life now, has been for the last year. Sometimes going somewhere new — somewhere that'll let people like Dizzy and me in — is everything. It's a shiny penny fresh off the press, a black swan among white. It's nothing groundbreaking. But it is.
I wash my hair and body as best I can using the bottles of water and bar of soap Dizzy stole from the gas station. The drain slurps it down and sighs as I massage my scalp. Next to me on a rusted towel hook, my pink wig waves hello. She's ready to go, she tells me. She can't wait to be worn like the crown she is.
I tell her to hold her damn horses because I'm washing my hair in a sink.
Wrapping a towel that's seen better days around my head, I step out of the bathroom and into what's been my room for the last ten months. Ten months. I've lived with Dizzy for nearly a year, and I could count the things I know about him on my pencil-thin fingers.
When he was sixteen, his mom put him and his older brother on a plane from Iran bound for America. The pair landed in Philadelphia, and eventually Dizzy ended up here. He never talks about his brother, and I don't ask. I know he enjoys Twizzlers and blue ballpoint pens and crisp, white shoelaces. I know because he steals those things most often.
I've never seen anyone steal something the way Dizzy does. Once before, when I was at a department store, I spotted a pair of kids working together to pinch a yellow Nike hoodie. One kid distracted the associate, asking for help to get something down off the wall, while the other slipped the hoodie inside his leather jacket. They got away with it. I remember wanting to follow them. See what they did next.
Dizzy doesn't work that way. He doesn't distract or scheme. He just slips by what he wants like a ghost, and it's gone. Anything he wants, gone. Dizzy never takes more than he needs, but he needs a lot.
I met him at an arcade. I was playing Pac-Man when I saw him across the room. He was almost as thin as I was, and his nails told me everything I needed to know. He was like me — homeless. I've met homeless people who try to scrub away the streets. It never works. The human body has too many crevices, too many places for grime to settle. You can see it in the small lines of their faces and in their palms and elbows. And you can see it in their nails.
Dizzy's nails were atrocious. He didn't try to scrub away the street. He embraced it. I needed someone like that. As I watched, the long-legged, dark-skinned man-boy swiped a red can of soda from the bar. The soda was there. The soda was gone. If I hadn't been watching closely, I might have believed he was made of magic — Dracula strikes Detroit.
That day in the arcade, Dizzy met my stare with a boldness I admired. I eyed the place where the soda had been, and he smiled. Then he turned and swept out the door. With the rang-tanging of arcade games behind me, I followed him. I followed him then, and I follow him now. He's my person. Not that I need one.
I startle when I spot my person standing in the bedroom doorway.
His eyes widen as if he just remembered I'm a girl. Tugging the towel around my body tighter, I avert my gaze. "What are you looking at?"
"I forget sometimes," he says softly. "What you look like."
He means without my makeup. Without my rainbow wigs and chains and piercings. He means me as I am right now: Domino, in the nude. "Stop staring at me, perv."
"I know you hate it when I —"
"Stop," I say. "Just don't."
He holds up his hands in defeat. "I'm ready to go when you are."
I move to my closet — a pile of clothes on the floor that Dizzy stole for me — and bend to dig through it. Behind me, I hear him turn to leave.
"You are so beautiful," he says under his breath before he's gone.
I almost charge after him. I almost beat his chest and scratch his face with my dirtied nails. Anything to make him regret what he said. But I just tighten my hands into fists and I count — one, two, three ... ten.
Now my blood is even Steven, and everything's going to be okay. It's just Dizzy. His words are easy enough to forget. I smile like I mean it and lay a hand against the wall. It's solid, real. If this wall is treated right, it'll stand straight as the stars long after I'm dead. This particular wall is white with blotches of gray from God knows what.
But my wall, the one in my future house, will be blue.
I walk back into my bathroom, the one uglied by water stains and years of neglect, and pull on a black skirt and tee, lace-up heels, and green-and-black-striped tights like I'm the Wicked Witch of the West. Then I hook in my piercings — lip, ears, eyebrow, tongue — and swipe on enough eyeliner and shadow to cause anyone's mama to shiver. Finally ... hello, darling ... I slip on my pink wig.
My armor is complete. But then I catch my reflection in the cracked mirror. My jaw tightens as I take in what Dizzy saw. The face of an angel, isn't that what they always said?
I see the same inventory Dizzy does: large blue eyes, soft skin, blond hair kept hidden beneath a wig. But there's more than meets the proverbial eye here. There's something else that he doesn't know about. That no one knows about. There's a darkness living inside me. A blackness that sleeps in my belly like a coiled snake.
His name is Wilson.CHAPTER 3
It takes us twenty minutes of walking through the sticky night to get to Havoc. Dizzy leads me to the side of a white brick building and into an alley that reeks of spoiled food.
"What's going on, creeper?" I ask him. "Why aren't we going in?"
"We are." He glances around, searching for something. "There." Dizzy half jogs down the alley and then approaches a window. "VIP access."
"We're going through the window?" I ask, wondering why I'm surprised.
"It's packed every night. They can pick who they want to let in."
And that isn't us. That's what he's saying. If bouncers are allowed to pick, they won't pick us. I stumble toward Dizzy, sure my feet are bleeding from the long walk in my ridiculous heels, and stop when something catches my eye. There's a man sitting behind the green Dumpster. He's homeless. A toddler would know this.
His face is mangled in a way that makes my stomach lurch. One of his eyes is missing, a single slash across the space where it should be. His other eye is oozing something yellow. And along his neck is an angry rash that's slowly climbing its way onto his cheeks.
He attempts a smile. "Evening."
His voice is gentle, and I try to return the gesture as Dizzy calls my name.
"Have a good time," the man says sincerely, nodding toward Dizzy.
Before I can talk myself out of it, I dig into my pocket and pull out what little cash I have. I hand it to the man.
"Domino." Dizzy's voice holds a warning.
I move away from the man and toward Dizzy. "Let's go."
"Why did you give that guy our money? Dude looks like a monster."
I eye the man over my shoulder. "I've seen monsters before," I say. "They don't look like him."
Excerpted from Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott, Heather Howland. Copyright © 2017 Victoria Scott. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was quite an unexpected read. Needless to say, I feel it's better for someone to stumble upon this book without really having too much insight into what it's about. I'd definitely recommend this, especially for the great deal of $0.99!!
Victoria Scott has written one creepy, chilling, young adult novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat right up until the last page. Sadly, everything that is awesome about this book are all things that you find out within the story. So I don’t want to ruin it because you will get goosebumps and hold your breath when these moments come, and I would never ruin that moment for you. What I can say is that no one is innocent and a lot of people have blood on their hands in this story. I suppose what I can also say is that the house that Madam Karina takes Domino to is sort of a group home for homeless girls, girls who won’t be missed. Unfortunately, that’s where I get tight-lipped because it’s so much more than that. I loved how complicated the author made her characters. Like I said before, none of them seem to be angels. They all have a past, a past they’d like to keep hidden for one reason or another. However, with that being said, you can’t help but become comfortable with them and start to care for them. Obviously, Domino also makes this same mistake time and time again with the other girls in the hosue and it leads to some rather dark scenes in the story. While you know where Domino is ultimately heading in the story, and what that will really mean for her, you still hold your breath in fear for her the moment that time comes. And the one thing I loved about Domino was that she’s not this perfect person, and she’s also not a bad-ass. She’s just this scared homeless girl who got picked up by a nice lady and taken to a huge house to live with other girls. I really liked the fact that no one in this story was perfect and yet I loved all of them. I liked Cane, the silent servant boy in the house who’s eyes show a darker and deadlier side, the silly girl that Domino befriends who lives in her own little happy bubble completely oblivious as to what’s going on around her, and Domino was imperfectly perfect as a heroine… or anti-heroine depending how you look at it. This was an amazing cast of people who were crazy, dangerous, and yet would lay down their life for the other. Seriously, I really wish my review wasn’t so vague but you have to go into this completely blind to fully appreciate its awesomeness. I won’t lie, I’ve been holding onto this book for months because the synopsis just didn’t grab my attention. I thought it was going to be another fantasy type novel about a girl named Violet who’s perfect, everyone either wants to be her or date her, she has it “oh so rough” but is secretly the apple of everyone’s eye, and they all live happily every after once the love triangle is all figured out. But that’s not this book at all! What I got was some dark, keep you on the edge of your seat and give you goosebumps, contemporary YA that has so many twists and turns that will leave you with your mouth gaping open at one point or another. And as for who my favorite character was, hands down Wilson. That crazy guy was insane, and when he came into a room you knew that it just got real and stuff was going to go down. Okay, I’m going to stop it with this vague review of how awesome this book is and I’m just going to tell you to read it.
Violet Grenade was dark, twisty, and wonderful. The author does an absolutely fantastic job of slowly building the world around you and then revealing it be to even darker than you could have ever expected. Definitely not for the weak of heart, this psychological YA thriller was one of the best I've read recently. Domino was such an intriguing character, She was fiercely loyal and determined. While I never quite understood the connection between her and Dizzy, the friendship between her and Poppet was natural and entirely believable. Their friendship was truly the emotional heart of the novel. Domino's interactions with both Poppet and Cain allowed the reader to see the damaged and healing girl beneath the rock-hard armor. The author did a fantastic job with Wilson, he was one of my favorite characters in the novel. The more I found out about him, the more I appreciated what he was and what he did for Domino. When the story opens, Domino is a runaway attempting to survive on the streets. After her friend is taken to jail, Domino accepts Madame Karina's invitation to join her Home for Burgeoning Entertainers out of desperation to earn enough money to post his bail. As she rises higher through the ranks, she starts to learn that not everything is as it seems and that the secrets she uncovers may come with a price. I can't say much more about the plot without spoiling it but I was absolutely engrossed in the story. The beginning portion was the weakest part for me but once the action truly started, the story became amazing. I would recommend this one if you enjoy a dark psychological thriller. While this one is technically young adult, I think that most thriller readers would like Violet Grenade. It was a very unique book that stayed with me long after I turned the final page. I'm definitely going to be looking up the author's other works given how much I enjoyed this one. *Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Okay, here's the deal: This book is seriously messed up! It kind of reminds me of a train wreck you can't look away from---not because it's bad, by any means, but because the characters and the situation are so incredibly, intensely broken and dark. What Fed My Addiction: Surreal contemporary? The book is interesting because I was never quite sure what I was reading. I assumed from the beginning that it was sort of a dark fantasy/paranormal story, but after a while I determined there weren't really any fantastical or paranormal elements, with the possible exception of Wilson---who I couldn't quite figure out. Yet, the book didn't read like a contemporary exactly either. The story involves human trafficking, but the "houses" with their systems of pay and the way you would reach the next house---it all felt incredibly surreal, like a contemporary on crack or something. And I couldn't tell if the characters were all just crazy or if there was something mildly supernatural going on. (view spoiler) I have to say that I was intrigued enough that it all worked in a crazy sort of way. Dark, dark, dark. If you like your characters dark and a bit unhinged, this is the sort of book for you. I figured out pretty early on what was haunting Domino, but the details didn't unfold until very late in the book and I was definitely kept guessing. And things just got more and more intense as the book went on. They maybe even went a little too dark for me at the end---but I'll confess that I was riveted, and I wasn't about to put this book down! Poppet. Poppet is Domino's best friend at Madame Karina's house, and she's a spot of sunshine in an otherwise bleak book. Her friendship with Domino is first built on mutual need, but it soon transforms into something deeper. I pretty much loved everything about Poppet. The romance. Cain is a dangerously mysterious guy with an obvious past---someone who Domino can relate to. He's the strong but silent type (at first I thought maybe he didn't speak at all), and you definitely want him in your corner. Cain and Domino balanced each other in their craziness and they understood each other in ways no one else could, making for an irresistible romance.. What Left Me Hungry for More: Small feeling of "What the heck did I just read?" Honestly, this book is so messed up that you can't help but be a bit repulsed while also being drawn to it. It also takes kind of a long time to get warmed up---with lots of hints about the darkness but nothing really full-blown messed up until toward the end. Which I guess is good because I don't think I could have handled it if the whole book had been as intense as the end, but it also made me spend some time wallowing in the weirdness. Still, the sense of mystery was high and I was not in any way bored---I was too busy trying to figure out what I was reading! I actually think I summed this book up best when I called it a contemporary on crack. It's incredibly dark and more than a little strange. If you were a fan of Nevernight and you want to give something a bit less fantasy a try, I think you'd really like this one. I waffled a bit on my rating for this book, but I finally settled on 4/5 stars. ***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott is one of those books that as soon as I turned the last page I had to pause for a moment and revisit everything I just read. There was so much about this book that I found interesting…and disturbing but Scott did a wonderful job developing both the characters and the story. Domino is the primary character and it is immediately apparent that she hasn’t had it easy. When she is first introduced, she is living in an abandoned house in Detroit with someone she considers her person, Dizzy. When Dizzy is arrested, Domino makes a decision that changes everything for her. In her desperation to pay his fine, when Domino meets Madam Karina and is offered a way to make money, she decides to do it. As soon as she got into Madam Karina’s car, I knew things weren’t going to be easy and it was clear Domino has some concerns but she was willing to consider almost anything if it meant she could get Dizzy out of jail and she was convinced that he would do the same for her so her mind was made up. Weirdly Domino didn’t ask any questions before agreeing to go with Madam Karina and she ends up in Texas at a place called Madam Karina’s Home for Burgeoning Entertainers…let’s just say, the term entertainers is an interesting descriptor. Madam Karina is crazy – that’s about all I can say. She is desperate to keep the people in her life close to her no matter what. She immediately sees something in Domino that makes her both protective and dangerous to Domino. What Madam Karina doesn’t know is that Domino has her own protector who goes by the name of Wilson. There isn’t a lot I can say about Wilson as I don’t want to give anything away but as you read the story, you will understand the role Wilson plays and how important he is to Domino. The relationships that Domino builds while she is in the house are key to her story. First, there is Poppet – her roommate and eventually her partner in moving up the ranks. Poppet welcomed Domino with open arms and I liked that about her. She definitely came off as a bit young and naïve but when needed, she was willing to jump right into the fray and do what she needed to in order to help her friend. The other person is Cain. He is big and tough but didn’t speak around the girls unless really pushed. The only time he seemed to connect with anyone was when he and Domino were alone with each other. I thought the way their friendship/relationship developed was interesting. They both have secrets and they both think that when the other finds out about them, they will run away. The interesting thing here is that neither thinks what they did was their fault and they don’t hold their actions against each other. The characters are really what make this story so interesting. Every one of them is flawed and in their own way and no doubt, dangerous. This is definitely a dark story and I thought Scott did a great job of tying it all together. By slowly revealing the main character’s backgrounds, I couldn’t help feeling bad about their situations and then rooting for them to survive and get away. I love Scott’s other books and this one is definitely right up there so if you are looking for a story that will keep you on edge until the edge until the very end, definitely consider this one.
I received an arc copy of Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott to give an honest review. This is a book about a homeless girl longing to find herself and find companionship/friendship/acceptance among others all while fighting a lot of inner demons. This is not a fluffy contemporary read and touches on a lot of hard topics, violence, and inner conflict. It can get dark at times and even has some sexual assault scenes in case that's a trigger for anyone. At times it was definitely a page turner. Certain sections of the book I flew through needing to know what happens next. I have heard conflicting views on whether or not this book is a mental illness story or not but I think that it definitely is. It's no secret and is even said in the synopsis that our main character Domino has an "inner voice" that speaks to her. I went back and forth deciding whether this inner voice was a hallucination or a split personality. I think I have my answer although I don't want to go into great detail because of potential spoilers but I'd definitely say this book touches on mental illness quite a bit. I didn't find myself overly connected to any of the characters but that didn't take away the appeal of them as characters if that makes sense. I feel like each character was unique and well written. Some likeable, some not so much. I definitely think the main characters were all likeable in their own way. I really enjoyed the way this book ended and even though the author could have went further into the story, I don't feel it was necessary and was very satisfied with how it all wrapped up. In all I gave this book a 4/5. I really enjoyed it and thought it was definitely well-written and intriguing throughout.
Whoa! Even after reading the synopsis there was no way I could expect what I read. This is dark and twisted and strange and disturbing. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. You can't help but feel for these characters and have such strong emotions as you read the story. There is humor but it is a dark humor that I only think some will enjoy. It's a contemporary but reads very much like an urban fantasy to me. If you want something heart wrenching and a really dark read Violet Grenade is perfect for you.
***3.5 Stars*** Domino has been living on the streets for the last few years, barely scraping by and depending on her friend Dizzy. When Dizzy gets arrested, Domino is desperate for a way to make money to get him out of jail. When Domino is approached by an older woman who offers her a chance to come live with her and make money as one of her girls, Domino accepts the offer, without really knowing what she is getting herself into. Domino is whisked away, taken to life with the woman who is known as "Madame" and Domino is one of her "flowers". Domino is in over her head, but nobody knows about Wilson... Yeah, so I am super confused about my own emotions in regards to this book. I was originally lured in by the gorgeous cover and the fact I have read the Collector by Victoria Scott and loved it, so I knew I had to read this too. What I most certainly can say is that I have not read a book like this before, it was completely original, and I could not really anticipate what would happen next. I am not really sure I enjoyed the read because it was much darker than I anticipated (be it the subject matter or the bullying and mental abuse), but it was interesting and the characters were so incredibly complicated and developed, which I appreciate in my stories. This is very much so a character driven book, with the people and their relationship dynamics being the main focus. Domino is complicated, and that is putting it mildly. I don't want to have any spoilers, so I apologize for the vagueness. It was really interesting to me to watch her in every situation, how she was aware someone was manipulating her, yet she would give in anyway. But other times, she had a core made of steel. She was engaging to me, I wanted inside her head to see what makes her tick, while Domino herself refuses to look at her own mind. Can I just say her back story is one of a kind? There was a romance in the story, but that was not the point of the book- to be honest, she has a more intimate encounter with a patron of the house than her love interest. The world the book was set in felt like it was it's own make-believe world with fairytale aspects and a complicated set of rules that would never work in real life, instead of a modern city. If there had not been occasional mentions of items, I would never have placed this as the real world. This is a standalone book so no cliffhanger, everything wraps up nicely, well as "nice" as a dark twist book can. This book was such a different read from anything else as well as from what I expected. I am glad I got the opportunity to experience it and I look forward to more from Victoria Scott. I received this title in return for my honest review.
Wow, what a crazy ride this was. If you like dark books with complex characters and insane endings, you have come to the right place. This was kind of a messed up version of Annie...and I loved every minute of it. I loved Domino from the beginning. She is broken, alone, and can't help but cling to anyone who will give her love and attention. Aren't we all that person at times? Unfortunately, this makes her more vulnerable than is safe and she ends up in the house of a woman who calls herself Madam Karina. Madam Karina is also broken, alone, and clings to anyone who will give her love and attention. But since she is the one in power, she also has the ability to punish those who distance themselves from her. She was one of those characters you love to hate. And then there is Wilson. He is the devil on each of our shoulders, begging you to give up your self-control-- to rule by passion. And in Wilson's case, it's usually the violent kind. He is what made this book so mind-boggling awesome. He is the darkness in all of us, and he shows up uninvited at the worst of times. Victoria Scott wove a dark tale that kept me wanting more. She created characters that we could root for, and yet never want to meet. (Though, to be honest, you'll despise 90% of the characters...but I wouldn't want it any other way) The pacing was perfect, and the ending was totally insane--and I mean that in the best way possible. I am giving Violet Grenade 5 out of 5 stars and a place in my Top Hits.
Domino is an extremely strong but broken girl. Her story starts off as being homeless squatting in an abandoned house with another homeless guy named Dizzy. Dizzy and Domino go out one night for some fun, but Dizzy is arrested and Domino makes a run for it. Domino finds out that she doesn't quite have the funds to get Dizzy out of jail, she is determined to do anything to get him out. As an odd twist of timing Domino meets Madame Karina, who offers Domino a roof over her eat, a bed to sleep in, food to eat and all for a job. Domino agrees to help, but she jumps in blind. Once arriving at Madame Karina's Home for Burgeoning Girls, she finds out that there is more to the offer than she ever expected. There are ranks for the girls, the higher the rank the more money they get to keep and the more privileges there are available to the girls. After her first night of "entertaining" Domino finds out exactly how cut throat this environment is and she is determined to do anything to work her way up the ranks in the shortest amount of time. Domino figures out what makes Madame Karina tick and uses that to her advantage throughout the entire book. There are a number of flashbacks from Domino to understand how she ended up in the situation she did with Wilson. Wilson does have his shining moment near the end of the book, and oh boy does he go all out and scare the living crap out of you. I learned to never get on Wilson's bad side. By the end of the book the title makes a lot of sense, and I did smile when it got to that point. When the grenade does go off it makes quite the impact. There are a few side characters that kept my interest during the book. Cain, Poppet and Wilson, like Domino they are all broken in their own ways. This made them all the more relate able and likable. I don't know if there will be a second book or not, I do hope there will be. I'd like to see more of where Domino, Wilson, Cain and Poppet will go and do.
This book was freaking awesome!!! Domino has been homeless for about a year and finds herself in a situation when her best friend is arrested, and she has no money to bail him out. She happens to run into this lady named Madam Karina who offers her a position at her home. Things aren't what they seem. There is a person inside Domino's head that has been restless for quite some time. His name is Wilson, and he was one crazy fellow! Was I supposed to like Wilson? I don't know, but I did!!!! I also loved Cain, Poppet and Angie. There were twists and turns and this book was awesome! Go. Read. It!
I absolutely loved Violet Grenade. It is such a wild ride of a story that you can not put it down. As I was reading I decided that there are three things that make it so you can’t put the book down. One you really want to know about Domino and Wilson’s past and what happened to make her the way she is. Two, what in the name of all things purple is up with that house! Three, Cain and his backstory which bleeds into other backstories. I really loved this plot and I think Victoria is great at writing these dark riveting stories (as you know if you read Four Houses). I couldn’t stop reading. I had to know, I just had to know! It’s also very fast paced, there is no lull where you are waiting for the next thing to happen. Something is always happening! I loved Domino. I have a fondness for dark characters as an MC because it’s not as common. Even though Domino has this dark part of her, she also has kindness. She wants to be cared about and care about people but has gotten herself hurt. She has this protective mode that is not only about Wilson and in a way it keeps her sane. I realize yes there is Wilson. I really really liked her character and the way she finds that she really does have her own power to take care of herself. I also liked Wilson too. At first I was a little weary like, oh this is strange, but I think you start to understand them both better as you read. Cain, Poppet and Angie are all great characters. I loved the friendship that develops between Domino and Poppet. They become great support for each other. I also really like the relationship that develops between Domino and Cain. I liked it because the story doesn’t need it. If nothing ever developed it would be fine because everything else about this plot is so absorbing. I always enjoy reading a romance that enhances a story but isn’t the story. Madam Karina and her minions of nut cases. Wow..wow. I mean you are kind of leary of her from the beginning because I feel like anyone that runs a home for girls with “talents” is suspicious. The more you dive in though the more and more interesting it becomes. That’s all I have to say about it. I liked so many things about this story and so many plot things that I really don’t want to reveal. I liked discovering them myself so I hope everyone gets that opportunity. Anything can happen that’s all I’m going to say.
I don't usually read thrillers, so I am definitely not an expert on the genre, but this book was really good! I actually had to digest it for a bit so I could decide how I felt about it. It was fast-paced, unpredictable, and more than once I thought "This is f*cked up!" It drew me in from the first chapter and I couldn't put it down until I finished it! The ending was awesome! I read mostly to be entertained and this definitely did the job! *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
While a full review will come on my blog Lisa Loves Literature a week from today, I wanted to go ahead and post on the release day for the book. Violet Grenade is definitely a psychological tale. There is the constant wonder in your head as you read it about just what caused Domino to have this very violent person living inside of her. The one that she doesn't want to let out no matter what, because his answer to all things is violence, not caring who gets hurt, or rather enjoying when others get hurt. Domino's life has been a hard one, and it is with that past that she is able to do her best to find her way through the new world she finds in Madam Karina's Home for girls, or entertainers as she calls them. These girls are all pretty much in cliques already, and you have to wonder just how long some of them have been there, and if they'll ever get the chance to move along the ranks to become a Violet like the top girl. I liked the friend Poppet that Domino made at the house, and how realistic their friendship seemed to be. I loved the crazy lady who was part of this new world when she brought things in for the girls in the house to shop for. This isn't my favorite book by Scott, but it was definitely a story that can stand up among similar Teen types of stories. However, I'd have liked a little more look into who/why the voice/person inside of Domino's head was who he was. Also, possibly a little more back story to the Sheriff and some of the other characters in the town. As well as what exactly happened to one of the groups of girls in the story, that I won't name here as to not spoil the story.
5 reasons to read Violet Grenade It’s not at all what you would expect. There are twists and turns around every corner. There is a big message of bullying. I hated how Domino and Poppet were treated. It also brings to light some of the darkness people carry within themselves. The dynamics of the house are interesting and strange. This was a good read. There are some pretty intense scenes so it can be shocking at times.
Everyone is weird. Some people just hide it better than others. It's true. And pretty clearly demonstrated in this book. Domino can't face the pain from her past. She hides in plain sight with her make-up and her fun colored wigs. She's not quite real and she truly not whole. The author does a good job of demonstrating the way people compartmentalize things to deal. Clearly not stable and clearly in pain, this homeless girl tries to fit in and tries to be seen. Abandoned and betrayed, she needs to feel loved and accepted. But the one person who has been there for her the past year turns from her and she's left to make it on her own. Enter the Madam. What a weird one she is. An adult this time that hasn't dealt with the pain in her life, who wants to be loved and accepted and goes about it in a really weird way. The whole house thing just bugged me. I'll be honest in that I was expected one thing and got another. And while that should be good, it just wasn't this time. I mean this book is weird. Nothing feels real or contemporary yet it is. And I just didn't except the amount of weirdness. I wanted it wrapped in a metaphorical bow that made it an analogy for the way the mind works. And it wasn't that at all. It's just a variation on weirdness with everyone having a healthy dose. The writing is good. This author does have a way of crafting a story. And while it did take me a bit to grab hold, I did end up interested in the story. I really wanted to know the ending. The ending that just wasn't what I wanted. But the story itself did keep me turning the pages. I really liked Cain. He's a sleeping giant that was kind and put up with a lot. Many of the girls in the house had me angry for their treatment of Cain. I was impressed by his loyalty to Domino and his care of her. He, too, had some compartments in his mind. He, too, has a degree of weirdness but I still liked him. Poppet was another one I cared about. Such a loyal friend. I like Angie and her dogs. She was quirky and a little scary. As for the rest of the characters, they all get varying degrees of my hate. And there you see the emotion that this book provokes. I hate the Madam. I hate Mr. Hodge and Eric. I hate the carnations and most of the rest of the girls though they all deserve pity. They formed a middle school mentality that ran the house and created the drama is many a different forms. They all shared in the weirdness. And they also represented the varied weirdness in us all. What I didn't care for in this book was the lack of satisfaction when I was done. There was no smile on my face when I finished. There was no relief or happiness. There was just puzzlement at the weirdness that didn't satisfactorily blend into normal. And while that in itself says something, it just isn't why I read books. So the bottom line is that if you enjoy the weirdness of life, roll around in it and find satisfaction in it, then this book is totally for you. If you prefer your contemporary to wrap up in a bow at the end, you might want to skip this one.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott Publisher: Entangled Teen Publication Date: May 16, 2017 Rating: 4 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): DOMINO: A runaway with blood on her hands. CAIN: A silent boy about to explode. MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience. WILSON: The one who will destroy them all. When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind. Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson. What I Liked: I haven't read a ton of YA psychological thrillers, mostly because they freak me out. Michelle Hodkin's Mara Dyer books left me reeling. Vicarious by Paula Stokes is another great psychological thriller, and I think you can consider A World Without You by Beth Revis one too. Violet Grenade was an intriguing, nail-biting, shocking novel that I couldn't put down. Domino is a runaway who has been living in an abandoned house with a boy named Dizzy, who has been a friend and companion to her. After years of living with her mother/her mother's insanity, Domino got away. But when Dizzy is arrested for shoplifting, Domino is alone. Until a woman makes her deal: come live with her in her home for burgeoning entertainers, and Domino can work for money to do what she would like. But when Domino gets to this home in West Texas, she realizes that this home isn't really home, and she can't really leave. She earns close to no money, she has no power, and she has nowhere to go. All she can do is try to work her way up the ranks of the flowers, from a bottom feeder to the coveted Violet spot, the best of entertainers. Domino isn't afraid of this strange place, because she has something no one else has - Wilson. You can probably already tell where this is going: Madam Karina's home for burgeoning entertainers has all kinds of entertainment going on... and Domino has split-personality disorder. I'll talk about both of those. Starting with Domino! Her split-personality is never named in terms of a medical condition - probably because this book is written in first-person, and it's not like Domino has been diagnosed by medical professionals. She developed the second personality (Wilson) when she wasn't strong enough to handle what her mother was making her do. Her mother made her do The Thing for years, and Wilson grew stronger for years. And since you're probably wondering what The Thing is - no, the mother wasn't pimping out Domino. Domino is a virgin. Domino hides behind a think wall and tries not to let anyone in, or the past out. She has Wilson, and she had Dizzy, and things were fine until Dizzy gets arrested. Making the decision to take up Madam Karina on the offer and leave Detroit for West Texas is both stupid and smart, irrational and incredibly brave. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
4.5 stars Umm..wow. This book hooked right from the beginning. It was fascinating, attention grabbing, and horrifying (not in a scary way but what was happening to people). The characters were written great. Domino (cool name by the way) was loyal to the people who matter. It was admirable what she did to help her friend Dizzy, though that didn’t work out how she hoped. Then when it came to Poppet. I liked how she used wigs of all different colors and piercing to hide her identity until she didn’t need it anymore. I hated why she had to, that was a horrible thing to be made to do. Cain was mysterious, scary dangerous, and a boy who been through stuff that he shouldn’t. But then he was tender and understanding. Can’t forget about WIlson! Wilson was a force to reckon with. OMG, the part where Domino lets Wilson to come out and play was wild, scary, and amazing. It was sad why he showed up and stuck around though but in the end their relationship ended how it should have. I really liked how the story was told and I liked the way it ended. I would have liked more on the aftermath of what went down but I thought it was good nonetheless. *I received this through NetGalley
Dark Psychological Chronological of Schizophrenic Salvation! Domino a seventeen year old homeless girl seeking acceptance and love falls prey to Madam Karina. Evil seeks the troubled teen with promise of beauty that is instead a prison. Numerous colorful and troubled characters live in the pages of this work. Not sure one reading is enough for an in depth analysis but it is enough to enjoy an amazing path taken by troubled souls to achieve redemption. "A copy of this book was provided by Entangled via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read and my comments here are my honest opinion."
“Violet Grenade” is the unique story of Domino, a young runaway who lives in abandoned houses in Detroit with her friend (and crush) Dizzy. Domino spends a lot of time hiding herself from the world, covering in wigs and thick makeup- and also trying to stay away from Wilson. Domino has dissociative identity disorder, due to traumatic experiences when she was younger, and Wilson is the personality that allows her to separate herself from those memories. Domino and Dizzy are out decorating a wall with spraypaint art when the police catch up to them and arrest Dizzy- Domino escapes. Not sure what to do without him and worrying that Dizzy’s claustrophobia will trouble him, Domino goes to the jail to try to pay his bail with all the money she has. She quickly learns that it is not enough. Soon, she receives an offer from an enchanting woman, Madam Karina, to work at her home for artistic types and make money. Not seeing another option, Domino takes the job to make money to pay for Dizzy’s bail and get him out of jail. The job takes her to West Texas, where Madam Karina rules not only the house but also the small town surrounding. Madam Karina runs her house with levels, starting at carnations and rising to violets, the highest level below the “Top Girl.” At each level, you get to keep more of your profits. At each level, the interaction with customers changes. Domino soon has a new goal- to reach the top and be able to afford a home for herself- and the people for whom she is beginning to care. The description of the home and the girls was really fascinating. Karina was also an interesting character, as she is desperate, manipulative, and commanding- she runs the house with some sense of love but mostly of possession of the girls but also demands their “love” (mainly loyalty/admiration) in return. She is also running a business and making profits off both clients and the girls. During this time, Domino is forced to confront her past, as the situations she is put in resemble some of her buried past and call for Wilson’s aid. She is threatened not only by Karina, but also the other girls and sometimes clients. She finds allies in Poppet, another carnation who is possibly one of the sweetest girls ever, and in Cain, the brooding young man with a secret past who works at the house. This book is intense and never lets you breathe- I found myself unable to stop and am still thinking about it. The main characters are extremely well developed and complex- and the last 20% of the book was an incredible finale that would not let you go! It is, at the same time, somewhat surreal (the whole house situation in particular) and very real (particularly some of the characters). As a heads up, there are situations of sexual violence in the book- as well as physical violence and torture. This is not a light read, by any means; it’s emotional and incredibly intense. Overall, I think it’s extremely well written and will be enjoyed by fans of Scott’s Fire and Flood series- it has a similar thriller feel though this one is more of a (really intense) psychological thriller. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
This book is so so twisted and holy wow is it dark... but damn this book is also incredibly addictive. Once I got to part two it was so difficult to put this book down. This is an incredibly unique read and it really shows the versatility Victoria Scott has as an author. Domino is a great heroine. She is flawed and has done terrible things and her past is so much more twisted and dark than I ever would have guessed... but she is also likable. When we meet her she is just trying to get by and it is easy to see how she could get caught up in this mess. I really liked Domino and I felt for her. I also liked Wilson which I'm not going to look too deep into because I'm not sure what that says about me. Along with Domino, I also loved Cain and Poppet. Cain is a quiet one with his own secrets and Poppet is just easy to like simply because of who she is. Both of them bring something to the story and are a big part of Domino's story. There are other characters who play an integral role.. such as Madam Karina... but Cain and Poppet were my favorites. Violet Grenade isn't like anything I've read before and because of that I don't think I'll be forgetting this one any time soon. I think we all know what exactly goes on in this Home For Girls, but surprisingly that wasn't even that darkest part of the story, and I think it takes a real talent to tell such a tough story without bringing the reader down to the point where they don't want to continue. This was a really good read. It is dark and twisty and addictive. Recommend this one for suspense/psychological thriller fans.