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Summary: Kendra is searching for “normal.” She was molested as a child, but cannot remember her attacker. Her last girlfriend couldn't handle being gay and goes to another school now. With her counselor's help, Kendra is getting closer to identifying her assailant … and he knows it because he is stalking her and sending her reminders — “never tell, or I’ll kill you.” As her anxiety soars, so does her need to cut herself to stop the pain. Kendra’s relationship with her mother was never close, and her doubts about the abuse have not helped Kendra. Now, with her father losing his job, they want to cut back on expenses by ending Kendra’s counseling — the thing helping her the most. Kendra is also hiding her relationship with Meghan because her parents won’t accept that she is gay. They blame the abuse for “causing” it. Although written at a level suitable to young audiences, this is most definitely for Young Adult s. The story incorporates themes of abuse, dysfunctional families, recovery, and acceptance that are meant for teen / mature audiences. It is a high interest
Type of Reading: independent reading, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 12 and up; read yourself: 13 and up
Interest Level: 12 and up
Reading Level: 3.4
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a very powerful book. While Kendra's sexual abuse is central to the plot, the author focuses less on what happened and more on the journey to healing. She lays out the dynamics of Kendra's relationships with adults (parent and non-parent), as well as peers. Kendra's new crush is the child of an alcoholic, which adds depth and connections that kids may understand more.
Pros: Through this young adult novels, teens can get a first-hand account of a life with unbearable pain. Readers cannot help but be moved by this story.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a story that needs to be read. It offers stark descriptions without getting into the nitty gritty. It has a very important message about seeking help, too.
Educational Themes: This is a story meant for discussion. There are a number of themes related to Kendra, Meghan, and her parents; as well as excellent examples of finding a trusting adult. Rainfield includes an extensive list of resources at the back, too.
Notes: The author donated an advance reviewer copy (ARC) of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, family, realistic fiction, contemporary, school