Published on September 11, 2018
About Born Scared
Elliot is terrified of almost everything.
From the moment he was born, his life has been governed by acute fear. The only thing that keeps his terrors in check are the pills that he takes every day.
It’s Christmas Eve, there’s a snowstorm and Elliot’s medication is almost gone. His mum nips out to collect his prescription. She’ll only be 10 minutes – but when she doesn’t come back, Elliot must face his fears and try to find her. She should only be 400 meters away. It might as well be 400 miles…
I wanted to read this book because the premise sounded really intriguing. Right away, there are high stakes and it has that man versus himself thing going on that I really love in stories.
Some of Elliot’s experiences made total sense with his fear issues and the way people would normally react in those situations. But as the story progressed, some of the experiences Elliot had got more and more extreme, and I couldn’t decide if he was hallucinating or imagining the worst-case outcome in a given situation and reporting it as if it happened, or if bad things really were happening to him.
Other characters have short scenes from their points of view, and those seemed to support Elliot’s version of events, so I guess that’s what happened? Unless those were imaginary people he created? I don’t know. That seems farfetched.
As Elliot continued the search for his mom, he found a boldness and courage that was inspiring. I liked the way the story followed multiple threads which converged in a single scene.
On the other hand, I struggled with some of the events. I feel like either Elliot must have imagined certain parts of the story (because his actions seemed so out of character and because so many things seemed like the worst-case scenario playing out) or they were real events that seem too farfetched for me to believe.
Fans of A. S. King would probably really like this story. While I found it really interesting and liked Elliot’s character, I find I’m left with this feeling that I didn’t really get the story somehow.
Major characters are white or not physically described.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.
Elliot talks to his twin sister, Ellamay, who died during their mother’s pregnancy.
Strong fear-based images. Two men tie up two women. The women have bruised faces, like they fought their attackers. A man with a gun and knife threatens a kid. Someone attacks a man with a rock, hitting him in the head. A car accident startles several witnesses.
A man drinks alcohol at a bar, and a woman he met there drugs him without his knowledge. He experiences some hallucinations and behaves in a way out of his normal character while on the drugs.