Title: Rape Girl
Author: Alina Klein
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Genre: Contemporary, Young-Adult, Coming-Of-Age
Synopsis: “Valerie always wanted to be the smart girl. The pretty girl. The popular girl.
But not the rape girl.
That’s who she is now. Rape Girl. Because everyone seems to think they know the truth about what happened with Adam that day, and they don’t think Valerie’s telling it.
Before, she had a best friend, a crush, and a close-knit family. After, she has a court case, a support group, and a house full of strangers.
The real truth is, nothing will ever be the same.” (Taken from Goodreads)
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A beautifully written story of survival during the aftermath of an event that can ruin a young person’s life forever.
Rape Girl was certainly a very quick read, but it resonated a strong message to all victims of rape: “Hold your head high even if you feel like your world is crashing down around you.” The story follows Valerie, a 16-year-old teenager that threw a party and got drunk while her mum was out of town. During the night, she was witnessed by many of her peers to willingly walk into a room to spend some time alone with her crush, Adam. What they didn’t witness was her throwing up all over his shoes and passing out, only to wake up the next day with a major hangover. Falling asleep on the couch once again, she wakes up to Adam having taken off most of her clothing and telling her he was back to pick up where they had left off the night before. Valerie tells him “no”, but we obviously know what happens next.
The book focuses mainly on the present, while we do get a glimpse into prior events during the beginning of the story. We go through the journey of being a victim of rape with Valerie, and watch as her world falls down around her. But we also see her pick herself up again. We see many victims of rape blaming themselves for what happened, and it’s no different with Valerie. She is fighting a battle within herself as well as with Adam. She experiences the loss of reputation for telling a truth no one believes, and watches as her ‘best friend’ leaves her, rather than staying loyal. Such is the world of high school.
I really, really enjoyed watching Valerie pick herself up through this mess of an event – even when her lawyers drop her case and charges against Adam. I understand the message behind Valerie’s story is not able winning against the raper, but to speak up and piecing your life together even when everything goes to crap. Reporting the incident is so important to turning your life around, because you realise who the supportive people in your life are. It is the first step to being able to move on from the incident.
I really loved this story and its messages, but what I would have liked to see was maybe an epilogue to really conclude Valerie’s story. I know her talk with Adam was supposed to be the point where she turns her life around, but it fell a little flat for me. But irregardless, this was a wonderful read, written really well by Klein. It’s a wonderful contemporary story I would recommend to everyone.
THANKS TO: Namelos for providing an electronic copy of the book on netgalley for me to read and review honestly.