A review by take2max
The Girl in Cell 49B by Dorian Box

adventurous dark hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


The Girl in Cell 49B is a story about a girl battling her darkest demons. She has multiple demons: guilt, aggression, and rage. She also has a soft spot for underdogs. Emily has a dark past – her mother and sister were raped and her family home was burned to the ground, nearly killing her in the process. She carries a lot of guilt around because she feels she should have somehow saved her family instead of running away, which ultimately saved her life. After changing her appearance and assuming a new identity and living as Alice for three years, her aggression gets the best of her when she witnesses a nasty bully abusing his girlfriend at a gas station. Unable to stop herself, she walks up to the bully and points a gun in his face. The bully stops his behavior and they drive off but not before the gas station employee reports her to the police and they capture her using the gas station security camera.

This lands her in juvenile jail where the authorities discover, after taking her fingerprints, that she’s the lost girl that disappeared after the horrific home invasion that killed her family all those years ago. She’s also a person of interest wanted in a murder in another state.

Once she’s in juvenile jail, she quickly learns how to navigate the various caste systems and befriends a few underdogs who she feels compelled to try and save. Once her own trial starts, she quickly learns that THE LAW could quickly make or break her and in order to give herself the best chance of surviving a “fair” trial, she begins using the law library in juvenile jail to teach herself how the law works and how she can make it work for her.

This is a story about grit, determination and self-perseverance. This character has had to adapt to a cruel world, learn how to fight and defend herself while somehow managing to keep her sense of self. She’s unusual in that she has a big heart and she can’t stand to see good people being treated unfairly. But she also has a dark side. A side that she finds hard to control and keep under control. Once that dark side of her is unleashed, she can be cruel, dangerous and unpredictable. Emily’s journey is just beginning and she intends to use her new-found interest in the law to help people who can’t help themselves while trying to keep her dark past from destroying her and those she cares about.