The Girl in the Basement is a frightening glimpse into the mind of a psychopath and his teenage victim. Libby is a young woman celebrating her sixteenth birthday, when she is snatched away by a predator who is determined to make her a part of his 'family' along with a younger boy. Far from home and locked away in a basement, Libby must find a way to defeat her sadistic and often deluded captor who wants to rename her Serena and use her as a replacement for the sister he murdered many years before. Meanwhile, a smaller boy is being used as a replacement for their captors brother. Together, this trio are supposed to be a family, but Papa has all the power and rarely shows mercy on his captives.
Australian author Dianne Bates does a commendable job of showcasing the mind of a man who has many wants, thrives on cruelty and has no natural empathy for others. Meanwhile, Libby is shown to be a strong and resourceful young woman who, in places, has a lovely wisdom that is well beyond her years. The narrative had me turning pages and wanting to know more about Libby's fate and if there was a way for her to escape her captor. I wept for Angus, who wanted only to return to his rightful home and family.
This is a fast paced read, suitable for YA audiences and beyond.