Hi everyone! In honor of the recent publication of Brendan Kiely’s book Tradition, I have compiled a list of six young adult books that talk about sexual assault. It’s so important to talk about sexual assault, and there are some really powerful ya books out there about this topic.
Content warning: rape/sexual assault
Prestigious. Powerful. Privileged. This is Fullbrook Academy, an elite prep school where history looms in the leafy branches over its brick walkways. But some traditions upheld in its hallowed halls are profoundly dangerous.
Jules Devereux just wants to keep her head down, avoid distractions, and get into the right college, so she can leave Fullbrook and its old-boy social codes behind. She wants freedom, but ex-boyfriends and ex-best friends are determined to keep her in place.
Jamie Baxter feels like an imposter at Fullbrook, but the hockey scholarship that got him in has given him a chance to escape his past and fulfill the dreams of his parents and coaches, whose mantra rings in his ears: Don’t disappoint us.
When Jamie and Jules meet, they recognize in each other a similar instinct for survival, but at a school where girls in the student handbook are rated by their looks, athletes stack hockey pucks in dorm room windows like notches on a bedpost, and school-sponsored dances push first year girls out into the night with senior boys, the stakes for safe sex, real love, and true friendship couldn’t be higher.
As Jules and Jamie’s lives intertwine, and the pressures to play by the rules and remain silent about the school’s secrets intensify, they see Fullbrook for what it really is. That tradition, a word Fullbrook hides behind, can be ugly, even violent. Ultimately, Jules and Jamie are faced with the difficult question: can they stand together against classmates—and an institution—who believe they can do no wrong?
I’m am almost finished reading Tradition, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m glad that there are both female and male perspectives, because while it’s very important to hear the voices of people who have been sexually assaulted (the majority of whom are girls and women), I think it’s also really great for boys to be able to read a book like this and see that they, like Jamie, can be a supporter of sexual assault survivors.
I’ve also enjoyed the prep school setting. I’ve always found boarding school books to be incredibly interesting, and the setting of this book allows for a fresh take on sexual assault, because as their principal says, kids at Fullbrook raise themselves and each other.
THIS BOOK. Asking For It is about a 18-year-old girl named Emma who is raped and the trauma she experiences afterwards. It is so raw and powerful, especially because of the message that NO ONE should be raped. Asking For It is so well-written and is one of my favorite books of the year so far. Read my full review here.
Another one of my favorites of 2017! The Nowhere Girls switches perspectives between Grace, an idealistic girl who’s overweight and Christian, Rosina, a cynical musician who’s queer and latinx, and Erin, a girl who loves Star Trek and marine biology and is on the autism spectrum. This book is for everyone. It provides so many different perspectives on feminism and sexuality, and it was incredibly thought-provoking for me. Read my review here.
Saints and Misfits is about the life of a Muslim girl named Janna and what happens when she’s sexually assaulted by the “golden boy” of her mosque. This book is serious and important, but it’s also about family and changing friendships and just being a teenager. Read my review here.
I read Speak a long time ago, but from what I remember, it’s about a girl who is raped at a party and then shunned because she called the police afterwards. It shows how traumatic it is to be a rape survivor, especially when your rapist still walks the halls of your school. Find this book on Goodreads here.
All the Rage, one of my current reads, is, admittedly, a little confusing, but it makes sense, because rape is confusing. In the book, time is skewed, and the reader isn’t given all of the information up front, which makes for a really interesting read. I will link my review here once I’m finished, but in the mean time, I’d recommend reading this extremely powerful review.
Because I’m part of the Tradition blog tour, all of you wonderful readers have the chance to win one of five copies of the book!
Enter the giveaway here! (Make sure to enter before it closes on 5/9/18)
This giveaway is US only. I’m really sorry to all my wonderful readers from other countries! There are certain laws about these sorts of things, unfortunately.
If you don’t have any luck with the giveaway, or if you don’t live in the US, you can also find the book in these places:
If you want to read more about Tradition, make sure to visit these other stops on the blog tour:
May 1st: Pink Polka Dot Books (Welcome Post)
Will you be picking up Tradition? Do you know of any other good young adult books about sexual assault? Have you read any of the ones on my list? Talk to me in the comments!