Give me a story about a troublesome mother/daughter relationship mixed with a deluded cult and you have my attention. Top that off with a killer cover and I am smitten. Godshot by Chelsea Bieker had me from the moment I cracked it open.
Lacey Mae loves her mother, God, and her pastor Vern. She lives in a rundown town called Peaches, outside of Fresno, that hasn't seen rain in months. Pastor Vern promises his followers that if they listen to his teachings, God will bring rain to the valley. His teachings get more and more extreme and end up forcing Lacey's mother out. Left without the only parent she knew, Lacey is forced to live with her grandmother, Cherry. Lacey is faced with the uphill battle of trying to find her mother, while also trying to figure out who she is. At the young age of 14, Lacey matures beyond her years as she follows Vern's teachings.
Godshot felt like a mixture of White Oleander with a touch of The Sound of Gravel. I am drawn to books with about a dysfunctional mother/daughter dynamic. The reason why does not escape me, just ask my therapist (*wink, wink*.) I find comfort in these stories when the main protagonist lives through the unthinkable, only to come out on the other side. Lacey begins her story as a young, naive teenager and ends an adult, forced to grow up quicker than she should have to. She searches for her mother who was exiled from the church and starts to question the directions she receives from Pastor Vern. Lacey questions her reality and begins to awaken and find out who she is and what she is capable of.
I loved Godshot and devoured it within a couple of days. It took a lot to pry this book out of my hands because I was completely engrossed in the story. For a debut novel, Bieker knocks it out of the park and I look forward to what she puts out next. If you are looking for a coming of age story, mixed with cults and mother/daughter dynamics, set in the outskirts of dusty Fresno County, look no further than Godshot. A solid 5/5 star read.