The Places I've Cried in Public by Holly Bourne - on public bench with autumn leaves. YA book reviewThe Places I've Cried in Public by Holly Bourne - on public bench with autumn leaves. YA book review

I recently finished reading The Places I've Cried in Public by Holly Bourne, I closed the final page and thought 'that was important, everyone needs to read this book'.

(Trigger warning - abusive relationships are a theme running through the book and touched on in this review.)

The Places I've Cried in Public is written in the perspective of Amelie, a teen who has moved away from her friends and boyfriend and is starting college in a new city. Amelie meets Reece, who is charming, despite the red flags. They begin a new romantic relationship, which you later realise is anything but romantic. 
The book follows two different timelines, as Amelie gets inspired from a school project, and decides to revisit the places she's cried in public since moving cities. It's in these locations she reflects and tells the stories behind what lead to the tears. So we get both get present-day Amelie who is trying to move forward and heal, and past Amelie who feels she's in love but is being manipulated.
I'm not going to lie, on beginning the book, I didn't love it. It's a young adult story, and initially, I found it felt too young be to reading it as a 29-year-old woman. There was naivety to the main character, and she sometimes came across unreliable (in love with her boyfriend Alfie back home and then immediately besotted with Reese - however this may be a trope of young love along with everything else) and slightly childish (she falls out with friends and is disrespectful to her parents). However, I later found these details which I didn't love about the narrator later came into play. They were a result of how she'd treated rather than personality traits which really highlights how relationships can affect a person.  To begin with, it was an easy read, so I keep going, and then a transformation happened. Pieces of the story fell together, and I realised there was much more to it than I initially realised.  It was no longer an easy read but I couldn't put it down. It was heart-wrenching.  
The Places I've Cried in Public tells the story of an abusive relationship from the perspective of the victim. It shows how abuse can be subtle, isolating and destructive all at the same time. It sheds light on why people fall in love with abusers, grow reliant on them, and see goodness in the person who is gaslighting them. 
This book is a great tool for young women as it shows the signs of an unhealthy relationship. There are also conversations with a therapist within the story which are educational. These conversations give useful information such as the impacts of trauma, and how to know when a relationship is unhealthy.
There's also far more to the story than you expect, and there's also a twist towards the end which highlights however extreme abuse might be victims might rewrite the narrative rather than facing the trauma, and as a way to protect their abuser.
It's raw, emotional and relatable - even for those who haven't experienced the same. 
This might be a really hard read, for some more than others, but I think it's an important read. Although the subject matter of the book is heavy, the book still very much feels like a young adult read. It also explores themes of friendships, new starts, family relationships and coming of age.