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Forced to move from home to home throughout his childhood, Tom's fantasy of a family member rescuing him from the foster care system dies after several years pass without as much as a phone call.


His life unexpectedly shifts in his early teens when his only remaining blood relatives, his grandparents, suddenly reappear. For the first time in his resentment-filled years of abandonment, Tom experiences a moment of optimism over moving to the family pig farm.


Tom's change in fortune should bring him happiness, but something lurking deep inside him inhibits his ability to feel contentment. No matter how hard he tries to adjust, ordinary human emotions don't resonate in his bones, and his grandparent's lack of understanding of his difficulties infuriates him. Tom copes by forming an unusual connection with the farm's pig herd. The swine's cooing oinks and soft snouts, rubbing against his skin, soothes his nerves even on the most trying days.


On his eighteenth birthday, rather than give him a gift, the elderly couple lays out an ultimatum that threatens his future and the welfare of his beloved pigs. With his world collapsing around him, Tom makes an impulsive decision that changes his life forever and sets him on a path of dark self-discovery.

"Reviewed By Foluso Falaye for Readers' Favorite

Tom struggled to comprehend why his grandparents did not decide to rescue him earlier, leaving him to contend with feeling abandoned while transferring from one foster home to another throughout his miserable youth. He wondered why his grandparents had abandoned him for so long before deciding to save him and bringing him to live with them on their farm. His animosity had become so strong by this point that he plotted ways to punish them. At the age of 18, his grandparents issued a harsh ultimatum, leading him on a road that pulls him closer to danger the more he attempts to engage in society. Gitte Tamar's horror story Squeal centers on a disturbed young man who, as a result of parental neglect, decides to follow a rebellious and despicable path.

It stands to reason that a character who has spent years feeling neglected and without regular parental figures in his life would acquire unusual behaviors such as raving wildly and talking to animals. Gitte Tamar must have a solid grasp of psychology to develop such a complex, convincing character. Squeal, written in the third person, focuses largely on Tom but incorporates a new narrator's voice that elaborates on what Tom doesn't know and the other characters' viewpoints, including the pigs. Squeal would appeal to people who enjoy tales based on stinging societal truths and psychopathic characters. The themes in the novel include romance, competition, farming, murder, vengeance, family, manipulation, and others. Every aspect of the book is fantastic, but the finale is out of this world. I'll never look at a pig the same way again after reading Squeal!"

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