‘Forgotten Toys’ is the latest book by Ashley Laino.
When you look in an empty pool, you don’t usually expect to see a body at the bottom but in a a small town in eastern Pennsylvania called Pikesville one summer, that is exactly what happens.
Pikesville is quaint community that is faced with the disappearance of a local teenager Jenna Hayes and the town is turned upside down. When Jenna is found brutally murdered at the bottom of the town’s abandoned pool, the town is devastated, but to Sarah Moore, Jenna was just a girl whose name she heard around sometimes, in some circles. What does this have to do with her? She is dealing with her own issues, anyway. But when Sarah’s sister, Chloe, goes missing, Sarah must uncover a murderer before he gets to her, too, or before it’s too late.
Like a lot of people, I enjoy a good thriller so when I was approached with this book, I was eager to delve into this dark and atmospheric story.
The story is seen through the narrative of Sarah, who works in a jewellers and one day collapses when she receives news that a local girl from the town who was missing has been found dead and scalped. When Sarah returns home, her sister Chloe is distraught having known the girl is killed and on the day of the girl’s funeral Chloe disappears and Sarah finds herself trying to find whilst battling her own demons.
This book is a dark read, not only is the main plot line intense with a killer targeting and scalping girls but there’s also the main issue that Sarah and Chloe have, they both have eating disorders. Chloe purges and Sarah starves herself. Although Chloe has tried to fix herself, Sarah is constantly at loggerheads with her body and it does make for sad and unsettling reading, as she counts calories and has an unhealthy obsession with food. She is constantly in competition and trying to make her weight less. Her own relationship with her mother is equally traumatic, as she tries to control Sarah both physically and psychologically. I found Sarah to be a frustrating character, I just wanted to eat, not to overthink every bite and to get better just like Chloe.
This story is a complex thriller set in a small town where gossip is rife and everyone has an opinion. With the narrative being from Sarah’s perspective, it makes for interesting reading, as she tries to find her sister as well as deal with own mental health issues. This gives an insight into battles with eating disorders which makes for extremely sad and unsettling reading.
An emotional and atmospheric story from the first page, ‘Forgotten Toys’ is a clever thriller that handles mental health and eating disorders sensitively and delivers twists and turns that keeps the reader on their toes.
You can buy ‘Forgotten Toys’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.