I received this book by the publisher.
"Hey, look. It's that girl. That rape girl, right?"
Rape Girl by Alina Klein is a short but exposing tale of being a rape victim. For some reason I do not think this topic can be over done. It is important to have these tales of rape victims out there so that others can connect with them and also understand situations they themselves might never encounter.
Our main character is Valerie, she is a 16 year old sophomore in Salt Lake City, Utah. We find out that her family moved to Utah 3 years ago and that there are outsider issues with being Catholic in a predominantly Mormon town (it is subtle). At the opening of the book Valerie and her mother are being interviewed by two detectives. Here is where we are told of a party that occurred, while Valerie's mother was not home, of her getting ready with her best friend, putting her sister to bed, getting drunk and ultimately kissing the guy Valerie has had a crush on. It almost seems like a pretty good night, but nothing ever stays golden. Obviously following the drinking, Valerie and many other get sick and eventually pass out.
When Valerie awakens her sister wants to go outside to play with a neighbor in the snow. This is when the rape takes place. Valerie pass out, only to be awakened to a terrible situation, one that she cannot call out for help, unless she wants to involve her little sister...
Written in "before" and "after" the reader is flipped through what occurred that night and the downfall of speaking out. The scary part is that everything is realistic. The victim is presumed guilty, support of the rapist lie about past experiences with Valerie, the examination (where Valerie is hit with the fact that she was a virgin but no longer is), the principal giving more support to the rapist than to the victim, all of this is common in rape cases. Like it says in the book, rape victims are the only victims that have to prove their innocence.
Unlike other YA novels, Val's mother is present and I rather liked that. Her mother is the reason why Valerie was able to speak up and the one person who tried her hardest to get the defendant prosecuted. Unfortunately due to technicalities, her rapist is off the hook. So this book also deals with moving forward even when the criminal is in your math class.
I would recommended this book to high school librarians and English teachers and middle school librarians and English teachers. There are many concepts: bullying, rape, self-awareness, growth and acceptance in this book, that students would benefit from reading. I thank the author for writing a book so close to her experience at 16, for being brave enough to speak out and not let it define her as the criminal, but as the victim.