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Rape Girl by Alina Klein

 

  Rape Girl
Alina Klein
namelos
Date:  August 1, 2012
132 pages
ISBN-10: 1608981231
ISBN-13: 978-1608981236
Lexile : 970L

Book Overview:

Rape Girl as in, “‘Hey, look. It’s that girl. That rape girl, right?'”  is the story of Valerie, sixteen years old, the victim of a rape, not only of her body, but of her good name as well. The author, Alina Klein, is a rape survivor, and she captures the terrible after-effects of a crime that is under-reported, misunderstood, and devastating to the victim and the victim’s family. Ms. Klein also gives her readers a window into the flawed process of bringing the perpetrator to justice: reporting the crime, collecting physical evidence, giving statements to the police, and cooperating with prosecutors.

I think this book is appropriate for any girl old enough to date. It underscores one of the tough realities all girls need to realize: most rape victims know their attacker and often, the assault takes place in a dating situation. That said, I believe this is one of those books parents need to read and discuss with their teens (of both genders). The troubling subject matter is handled with care, particularly the account of the attack, but I don’t think it’s appropriate for young teens. Parents who are unsure should read the book ahead of time.

Positive Content:

Ms. Klein’s writing style and the subject matter made this book difficult to set down. In fact, I finished it in one afternoon and evening. She absolutely nailed the high school experience, including the intense peer pressure to fit in, to be popular, to be attractive, and not to make waves. The dialogue, the emotions, and the thought processes are close to perfect.

I usually find going back and forth in time annoying, but I thought Ms. Klein’s use of BEFORE and AFTER made the story more poignant, helping the reader understand just how much Valerie lost through her experience. This book doesn’t try to sugar coat the less-than-perfect ending, but it does allow the reader to hope that better times are ahead for Valerie.

Content to Consider: (Spoilers)

Violence: Sexual Assault and Bullying

  • There is one rape in the plot; however, in Valerie’s group counseling sessions, other girls talk about their experiences.
  • After the fact, Valerie is the victim of some cyber-bullying in the form of abusive text messages and Facebook posts.
  • There is one mean girls encounter in a school restroom where Valerie has to endure the acid remarks of two former friends.
  • Adam’s sports team engages in harassment and intimidation tactics toward Valerie.

Crude, Vulgar, or Profane Language: FREQUENT

  • One girl refers to another as a “freeze,” or basically, a joy kill.
  • One guy flips the bird at another.
  • Bastard is used once.
  • Adam twice calls Valerie a bitch.
  • Two others call Valerie a bitch, one calls her a friggin’ ho, and another calls her a dildo.
  • Sh– is Valerie’s go-to word for every situation. I lost count.
  • Adam uses the f-word once.
  • Hell is used once.
  • D— is used three times.
  • Valerie’s friend swears once in Spanish.

Sexual Content: IMPLIED

  • Rape Girl begins with mild sexual content, a couple of public kisses, a game of spin the bottle, and one more public kiss.
  • Adam leads Valerie to the den and closes the door in front of all of their friends. A sexual encounter is implied but does not take place.
  • Adam returns to the house when Valerie is alone and forces her. That is an act of sexual violence.
  • Mimi, Valerie’s ex-best girlfriend, gets behind closed doors with a guy at the party, but they are interrupted before it goes farther than groping.
  • Unfortunately for Valerie, the rape kit and physical exam is almost as traumatic as the crime.

Drug/Alcohol: OCCASIONAL

  • Underage drinking serves as the backdrop and catalyst for this story. Valerie hosts a party while her widowed mother is out of town. Everyone brings alcohol and the drinking commences as soon as the kids enter the door or maybe even before they arrive.
  • Valerie, fully aware she’s violating her mother’s trust, doses her six-year-old sister with allergy medicine to ensure she will sleep through the illicit party.
  • Valerie gets puking drunk. Adam orders her to drink down a shot in one gulp. She’s already had a couple of drinks, and she follows the shot with another drink to cool off her throat. The last thing she remembers of the party is getting sick all over Adam’s shoes.
  • All the other attendees imbibe freely, and Mimi (who seems to have had a hand in planning the party) gets drunk very quickly.

Negative Content:

  • Valerie’s friends (both male and female) refuse to believe her story; she has to make new friends.
  • Her friends, including her  former best friend, unfriend Valerie on Facebook.
  • The case against Adam, because of lack of evidence, becomes a case of he-said she-said, and Adam says their encounter was consensual.
  • The guys on Adam’s team, or at least his best buddies, make a claim that Valerie had intimate relations with each one of them.

Spiritual Content:

  • This book is set in Utah, the center of the Mormon faith. Most of the kids are Mormon; some are devout, others are not. Valerie is Catholic.
  • Adam is Mormon, and Valerie’s allegations of rape put his future mission in danger. However, he’s no altar boy (pardon the expression). He drinks alcohol and pressures Valerie to join in, even handing her a shot of whiskey. He’s obviously got sexual issues, chews tobacco, and his language doesn’t conform to Mormon standards. The timing of the sexual assault on a Sunday seems to highlight his hypocrisy.
  • For unspecified reasons, Mimi begins wearing a CTR (Choose The Right) ring, a common symbol among Mormons.

My Personal Opinions:

Overall, my opinion of this book is positive for an older YA audience. The frequent cursing and coarse language was a real negative, as it simply wasn’t necessary. Language aside, the manner in which Ms. Klein handles the subject of rape and its aftermath make it a book that can serve as the basis for thoughtful discussions about this difficult topic.

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About the Author

Kathrese McKee started life as a Systems Engineer at EDS, spent time in real estate, taught middle grade Reading and ESL in Texas, and settled down to blog and write speculative fiction for Young Adults.

As a teacher, she fell in love with books written for Teens and Young Adults. Her favorite books are “coming of age” stories about young people on the difficult road of self-discovery.

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