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.
Book Review: The Hiding Girl by Dorian Box
The Hiding Girl
Series: Emily Calby Book 1
Author: Dorian Box
Published: June 15, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 6-18, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Twelve-year-old Emily Calby was a good girl from a religious family in rural Georgia. She loved softball, her little sister and looking up words to get her allowance. Then two men came and murdered her family. Only the killers know she survived.
On the run, surviving by wits and animal instinct, she makes an unlikely ally in an ex-gang member who lost his own family to violence. He takes her in and trains her in “self-defense” before more tragedy launches her on a terrifying journey for justice. Nothing will stop her—not cops or creeps, not even her own splintering mind. Through it all, Emily fights to hold onto hope and the girl she once knew, kept buried deep inside.
Dark and gritty, but filled with heart and hope, The Hiding Girl is a twisty, fast-paced thriller and a testament to the boundless limits of human love, sacrifice and the will to survive.
What else can I say about The Hiding Girl by Dorian Box other than wow! It is a fast-paced novel that packs all the punches: Literally and figuratively! The Hiding Girl is dark and gritty with very graphic violence that also gives us characters to root for and become very attached to.
Twelve-year-old Emily Calby survives the graphic attack on her family and is on the run. Emily is definitely not the typical twelve-year-old. Experiencing what she did already ages her and over the course of the novel you have to keep reminding yourself of her young age! She meets Lucas who is a former gang member who helps her and these two definitely make quite the unique pair that form a special relationship. We also have Kiona, who is Lucas’ significant other who isn’t quite sure what to make of Emily. They teach her self defense and more as Emily is determined to find the men who killed her mother and sister.
Emily is one you cannot help but be on her side and get attached to. She is in for a long ‘adventure’ with many obstacles that keep coming up. At one point I found myself thinking “What else is Box going to have Emily go through!?!?” It is one thing after another, but our brave little fireball of a main character Emily can pull through!
And let me say this: I love Lucas! He is not what you expected and you really grow to care for him. As I was reading, I pictured Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP) as Lucas, but then I saw the premiere of The Walking Dead’s final season where we meet Mercer played by Michael James Shaw and despite the age difference, he would be a perfect Lucas!
This novel will not be for everyone with the graphic violence, but it also has a lot of heart and emotion to it. What made me read The Hiding Girl was that I was granted an arc copy of the second in the series The Girl in Cell 49B. I realized when I read the description for book two that I should read The Hiding Girl first. Though not needed as the second book touches on Emily’s back story, if you don’t read The Hiding Girl you will be missing so much! I am currently reading the second and still rooting for Emily!
The Hiding Girl actually fits for the prompt for #Diverseathon for this month, which is a main character in an interracial relationship. The relationship between Emily and Lucas starts as a mentor/mentee relationship that grows into so much more. August’s host is Mary @booksbymary1 and she will host at Instagram.
For full details on this year long read-a-thon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.
I really enjoyed The Hiding Girl and recommend it and cannot wait to see where Box goes next with the series. He is working on book three and I will be highly anticipating it!