robinellen (robinellen) wrote,
robinellen
robinellen

Book Reports (59-61)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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These deal with more mature teen subjects -- all three are different takes on rape and the consequences to society, to the individual, and to the future of the victim.

***
Exit, Pursued by a Bear, by E.K. Johnston -- recommended for those who like realistic teen drama, those who like cheerleading, and those who like reading about *rape recovery -- Dutton BFYR, 3/16

****
Firsts, by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn -- recommended for those who are okay with graphic sexual talk and actions, those who don't mind **confused teens with no adult help, and those who want to think about the different sexual pressure/expectations on girls and boys in today's society -- St. Martin's Griffin, 1/16

*****
[Wrecked, by Maria Padian -- highly recommended for those who like a thoughtful look at the role of alcohol in sexual actions and consent, those who like ***complex situations with no clear right or wrong, those who like multi-POV, and those who like wise and honest narrators -- Algonquin Young Readers, 10/16]

* I actually skimmed this while standing in the library. I think it's well done, and the MC here is a fighter. She works through the trauma which comes from rape in combination with a 'date rape' drug -- which means she doesn't really remember anything that happened to her but still has flash-backs and panic attacks from triggers because of the mental, emotional, and physical trauma. There's also abortion/pregnancy issues here, so be warned if any of the above trigger readers.

** This stayed with me for a couple of reasons: 1) it's a thought-provoking look at the vast differences between sexual expectations for teen boys and girls (warning: it's pretty infuriating, but sadly, I think it's fairly accurate); and 2) the underlying story of the MC's past sexual experiences which are never completely acknowledged (even by the MC) but which clearly lead to her current actions. I finished the book frustrated about both, and I couldn't stop thinking about how I would've handled the ending differently (as a writer) and also how I'd react if I saw something like this happening in my kids' school. This is very graphic in many ways, and I wouldn't let my 12-year-old daughter read it yet...in fact, I'd probably wait at least 3 or 4 years before giving her a book with this level of graphic language around sex coupled with the MC's issues (often un-acknowledged) around intimacy.

*** This is so well written, imo. The author takes us through a case of supposed sexual assault from 3 POVs -- what actually happened (as if the camera follows around the accuser and the accused), the roommate of the victim (the accuser), and a house mate of the accused. It really pointed out how sexual assault and consent can be so complicated and difficult to discern. When I finished, all I could think was how the message to high school and college students -- male and female -- should be that alcohol is the true rapist. This is more about what constitutes consent and how different players in the game react than it is about the act itself.
Tags: book reports, ya
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