Reading List: Young Adult Fiction About Sexual Abuse

In the past three months, I have written the first draft of the next two books in the Between the Cracks series, and I am poised to write two more books in a yet-unpublished series over the next six weeks. All researched and outlined and ready to start on Monday, February 1st. I wrote the first book last February, so it’s only fitting!

The time has come to post the next reading list in my series on abuse in young adult literature. This series is comprised of four parts:

I have been putting this list off for a while, because sexual abuse is an uncomfortable topic. It’s hard to talk about, to read about, and to write about. There are a few popular books out right now that focus on sexual abuse, and it is a topic I have explored a number in a number of my books.

My books that include main characters who are or have been sexually abused:

rp_ruby-3d-mockup-217x300.pngRuby, Between the Cracks  (all of the Between the Cracks series revolve around the impact of sexual abuse, I am only listing the first here.)

If you asked Ruby, she’d tell you she’s happy with her life.  She’s tough and independent and doesn’t depend on anyone else.  The road that has led her here has not been easy, and she’s blocked a lot of it from her memory.
But things aren’t as rosy as she would have everyone believe, and the road ahead of her is filled not only with gangs, drugs, and depression, but other challenges that Ruby hasn’t even imagined.

dev-mockup1-newDeviation

“You’re a good kid, Henry.”

Everyone knew that he was a good guy; geeky, responsible, hard-working.  Henry has had a lot to deal with in the past.  Now, as he should be focusing on his schooling and preparing himself for the future, he is hindered by abuse, the challenge of raising his baby brother while dealing with his mother’s deep depressions, and the return of a ghost from the past Henry has tried his best to forget.

But it seems that Henry can’t avoid the nastiness of life.  As hard as he tries, it’s one more disaster after another as his life spirals out of control.

Can Henry escape the darkness, or is he doomed to be consumed by it?

div-mockup1-new copyDiversion

Raised to a life of crime, Sandy is a teenage prostitute, junkie, and con artist. She always joked that her Da taught her a trade, that it hadn’t hurt her to be brought up like she was.
But things keep getting more complicated, more dangerous, and Sandy doesn’t want to admit even to herself that she longs for an honest, normal life.
Even when she tries to change, things don’t go smoothly. Sandy’s past keeps interfering with her new relationships. In the end, if she and her family don’t pull together, Sandy will not be able to escape yet another ghost of her past. Do they have what it takes for her to change her life completely?

steven mock-up-1

Don’t Forget Steven

He never told what went on behind closed doors. But this time, he can’t remember.

Things never have been easy for Steven. He accepts that, and just makes the best of things. He might not have parents or a happy home. Or enough to eat most days. But at least he has a couple of loyal friends who stand by him and help out when they can. At least he has school, someplace he can go to escape the abuse.

But just when he thought things couldn’t get much worse, they did.

Steven is accused of murder. But that isn’t the worst part. The really bad part is not even knowing if he did it.

tattooed mockup-1Tattooed Teardrops

“I don’t plan on getting in any trouble.”

Tamara had thought that when she got out of juvie, things would be easier. But before long, it seems like her life is spiraling into chaos.

If she can’t prove to her probation officer that she is innocent of the allegations against her, she’s going back to prison, and Tamara just can’t let that happen.

 

 

 

The other books that I have picked out are:

speakSpeak

The first ten lies they tell you in high school.

“Speak up for yourself–we want to know what you have to say.” From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless, outcast, because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. Only her art class offers any solace, and it is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Her healing process has just begun when she has another violent encounter with him. But this time Melinda fights back, refuses to be silent, and thereby achieves a measure of vindication. In Laurie Halse Anderson’s powerful novel, an utterly believable heroine with a bitterly ironic voice delivers a blow to the hypocritical world of high school. She speaks for many a disenfranchised teenager while demonstrating the importance of speaking up for oneself.

perks

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

 

 

some boysSome Boys

Some girls say no. Some boys don’t listen.

When Grace meets Ian, she’s afraid. Afraid he’ll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses Zac, the town golden boy, of rape, everyone turns against her. Ian wouldn’t be the first to call her a slut and a liar.Except Ian doesn’t reject her. He’s the one person who looks past the taunts and the names and the tough-girl act to see the real Grace. He’s the one who gives her the courage to fight back.

He’s also Zac’s best friend

 

scars

Scars

Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself—before it’s too late….

An edgy, realistic, and hopeful novel about a teen survivor of sexual abuse who uses self-harm to cope.

Kendra, fifteen, hasn’t felt safe since she began to recall devastating memories of childhood sexual abuse, especially because she still can’t remember the most important detail – her abuser’s identity. Frightened, Kendra believes someone is always watching and following her, leaving menacing messages only she understands. If she lets her guard down even for a minute, it could cost Kendra her life. To relieve the pressure, Kendra cuts; aside from her brilliantly expressive artwork, it’s her only way of coping. Since her own mother is too self-absorbed to hear her cries for help, Kendra finds support in others instead: from her therapist and her art teacher, from Sandy, the close family friend who encourages her artwork, and from Meghan, the classmate who’s becoming a friend and maybe more. But the truth about Kendra’s abuse is just waiting to explode, with startling unforeseen consequences. SCARS is the unforgettable story of one girl’s frightening path to the truth.

 

Tell me what you think!

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