Book Review: The Girl in Cell 49B by Dorian Box
The Girl in Cell 49B
Series: Emily Calby series #2
Author: Dorian Box
Published: March 1, 2021
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 20-28, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Emily Calby disappeared at age twelve, the only survivor of a notorious home invasion. Three years after her terrifying odyssey in The Hiding Girl, she’s safe, living in anonymity with her mentor, ex-gang member Lucas Jackson—before life blows up again on her Sweet Sixteen birthday. Arrested for carrying her birthday gift—an illegal handgun from Lucas—a fingerprint scan shows her to be the missing Calby girl and worse: she’s wanted for murder in another state.
Extradited to a corrupt juvenile prison, Emily struggles to adjust to a new code of survival while battling a vindictive prosecutor willing to resort to any means to convict her. As The Law thwarts her every move, she begins to appreciate its awesome power. She discovers a hidden prison law library and buries herself in the books, casting her destiny.
As she fights for her life in court, the dark secrets behind the prison walls close in. Her cellmate, a spookily prescient drug addict, is in grave danger. So is her first love, a gentle boy sentenced to life without parole. Emily’s desperate to help them, but how can she, when her explosive trial brings one new disaster after another? A legal thriller like no other.
Three years after The Hiding Girl ended, we pick back up with Emily (aka Alice) on her sixteenth birthday. This day is far from the “sweet sixteen” like most girls have. It is another day where her whole life changes: She is arrested and also finds out she is wanted for murder. She is then put in a corrupt for-profit juvenile prison.
Pochachant prison is our main setting with the courtroom second for Emily’s court case. We see what life is like for Emily at Pochachant as she has to adjust to ‘life on the inside’ dealing with the other detainees (not inmates as they are juveniles) and corrupt correctional officers while also ‘working’ for .17 an hour in the library. There are also boys at the prison, and the genders are only mixed when they are taking GED classes where Emily meets a boy that becomes special to her.
It is a tough life and Pochachant is one of the toughest prisons for juveniles. And then Emily also has to deal with a district attorney who seems to have a personal vendetta against her.
As with The Hiding Girl it just seemed like Box just likes to put our heroine Emily against so many obstacles against her. We get several twists and unexpected angles, some of them just seemed just a little too far fetched for me, which was the reasoning of the four-star rating. I also missed Lucas!
49B is not light on the violence and corruption of the inside of the prison, so same as with The Hiding Girl, this novel might not be for everyone. We do get a conclusion at the end of this novel, but this reader is ready for more!
This is the second in the Emily Calby series and Box is currently working on book three. At this point I am so invested in Emily, I must know what happens with her next! The Girl in Cell 49B could be read as a standalone as her past is mentioned, but I do not recommend it! You MUST read The Hiding Girl to get Emily’s full story with what happened to change the course of her life into what it became.
The Girl in Cell 49B is highly recommended reading after The Hiding Girl! I am ready to see what happens next!
I received an electronic copy from the publisher via Bookish First.