Teen Dating Violence Awareness

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I don’t do “romantic” Valentine’s Day themes. I’ve done friendship, friends before romance, and ace/aromantic books. Today, I thought I would work on a list of books that are appropriate for Teen Dating Awareness Month.

Why a month of awareness for Teen Dating Violence?

According to loveisrespect.org, “One in three teens in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by someone they are in a relationship with before they become adults. And nearly half (43%) of college women report experiencing violent and abusive dating behaviors.”

Teens may take these early dating experiences with them throughout their lives. We want to break that cycle. Educate teens on what loving, respectful relationships look like and help them to recognize red flags that may precede violence.

Other resources:

My Books

Between the Cracks Series

There is more than one dysfunctional relationship in the Between the Cracks series, starting with Ruby Between the Cracks.

I think there is at least one significant episode of relationship violence in each book, sometimes more.

Winner of Top Ten Books for Teens award by In the Margins Committee, 2015.

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.

Tamara’s Teardrops Series

While Tamara doesn’t set out to participate in any romantic relationships, she ends up in a number of situations involving intimate violence, and feels like she doesn’t have any way out.

Just a warning — Tamara doesn’t make the best decisions.

Winner of Top Fiction Award, In the Margins Committee, 2016.

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.

Intersexion

LGBTQIA individuals are at an even higher risk for intimate violence, and Taylor is no exception.

Taylor is a teen teetering on the edge of a steep precipice. Disowned by his family, living on the street, battling abuse and prejudice, he struggles to discover who he really is and how to carry on with life.

The last person you would expect to touch him is Roz, whose foremost identity is a Christian wife and mother. But her world is about to be shaken. Through all that happens, Roz understands she has to be there for Taylor, knowing he is only one step from despair and self-destruction.

Pursued by the Past

This one is not a YA title, but there is a lot of information in this one about domestic violence.

Vanna had a good life. She had her challenges—like her mother’s high expectations of her—but all in all, she had a job she enjoyed, a fun hobby and friends. She didn’t need any complications.

But that all changed shortly after trying to break things off with Tino. The phone calls with no one on the other end. Anonymous gifts.

Someone moving things around in her bedroom.

A restraining order changed nothing. If anything, it caused things to escalate. If Vanna wants her life back, she will have to take things into her own hands.

More Books

I have tried to get a variety of books here about teen dating violence. But a lot of the plotlines in the genre are very similar. Take a look at the red flags list linked above, and see how many of them you can spot…

Around Midnight

Jazz is everything to Megan Hollis. When her hands clasp the saxophone, melodies flow with each breath.

Music carries her from Copperwood to London, with university on the horizon. Set on attending London’s prestigious School of Jazz, all elements of her life harmonize.

Then she meets Vincent Turner, the mysterious guy with a dangerous reputation. Intoxicated by his possessive charms, Megan’s love shifts from melodic bliss to a dissonant nightmare.

While the future promises stardust dreams, her new relationship takes a turn for the worse. Megan becomes caught between what she wants and what everyone believes is best for her.

Leslie’s Journal

For Leslie, grade nine was trouble-filled and grade ten is worse. The V.P. is constantly on Leslie’s case for skipping or wearing ‘inappropriate’ clothes.

Enter Jason McCready, new at school and ultra-cool. He gives her a wink the first time they bump into each other. When Leslie approaches Jason to prove to the girls they have met, he gives her a kiss — in front of everyone! Leslie is in love!

She is the envy of all the girls when Jason asks her out, but on their first date he takes her to his place instead of to the movies. He explains that his parents are away and begins pouring scotches, then beers. The lights get dimmer, the music louder, and things get fuzzy. Time seems to stop for Leslie, when suddenly Jason is throwing her clothes at her, stuffing money for a cab in her hand and telling her to get going because his parents are on their way home. It isn’t until later that she realizes what has happened.

Bitter End

When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole — a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her — she can’t believe she’s finally found her soul mate . . . someone who truly loves and understands her.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole’s small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats.

As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose “love” she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose — between her “true love” and herself.

Breaking Beautiful

Allie lost everything the night her boyfriend, Trip, died in a horrible car accident–including her memory of the event. She doesn’t remember driving on the cliff road. She doesn’t recall jumping from the truck just before Trip lost control.

As their small town mourns his death, Allie is afraid to remember because doing so means delving into what she’s kept hidden for so long, the horrible reality of their abusive relationship. When the police reopen the investigation, it quickly turns on Allie and her best friend, Blake, especially as their budding romance raises eyebrows around town.

As the threats begin and the survivor’s guilt takes over, Allie knows she must tell the truth. Can she reach deep enough to remember that night so she can finally break free?

Inexcusable

“I am a good guy. Good guys don’t do bad things. Good guys understand that no means no, and so I could not have done this because I understand.”

Keir Sarafian knows many things about himself. He is a talented football player, a loyal friend, a devoted son and brother. Most of all, he is a good guy.

And yet the love of his life thinks otherwise. Gigi says Keir has done something awful. Something unforgivable.

Keir doesn’t understand. He loves Gigi. He would never do anything to hurt her. So Keir carefully recounts the events leading up to that one fateful night, in order to uncover the truth. Clearly, there has been a mistake.

But what has happened is, indeed, something inexcusable.

Truly, Madly, Deadly

They Said It Was An Accident…

Sawyer Dodd is a star athlete, a straight-A student, and the envy of every other girl who wants to date Kevin Anderson. When Kevin dies in a tragic car crash, Sawyer is stunned. Then she opens her locker to find a note:

You’re welcome.

Someone saw what he did to her. Someone knows that Sawyer and Kevin weren’t the perfect couple they seemed to be. And that someone—a killer—is now shadowing Sawyer’s every move…

Some Girls Are

Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard–falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High… until vicious rumors about her and her best friend’s boyfriend start going around.

Now Regina’s been “frozen out” and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn’t come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend… if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don’t break them both first.

Tell me what you think!

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