"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

28 September 2018

Girl Made of Stars

TW: discussions of rape and childhood sexual assault

Blake, Ashley Herring. Girl Made of Stars. HMH BYR, 2018.

Mara and Owen are twins, and Mara is also close friends with Hannah, Owen's girlfriend. So when Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara isn't sure what to do. She doesn't know whom to believe and isn't sure how to react, and it's bringing up memories she had tried to quash.

As a childhood assault survivor, I nearly didn't read this book, not because I didn't think it would be well-written or well handled, but because I wasn't sure if it would be triggering. Mara was assaulted at the end of eighth grade by one of her teachers, and she doesn't tell anyone about it, and then her brother is accused of rape and her family is all rallying around him and her school is rallying around him and no one is standing up for Hannah, and Mara ends up in a sort of tailspin. This is a good book, and a realistic book, in that Owen is never actually brought to trial or formally charged or given any sort of punishment for what he did, and in fact his family doesn't really acknowledge that he did anything wrong.

I am glad for this book's discussion of rape that occurs within a relationship and how difficult it can be for the survivor to be believed since they already had a sexual relationship with the rapist, how it becomes a "he said, she said" situation, etc. etc. I am glad for the Speak-esque plot for Mara, who finally finds the courage to tell others what happened to her. This is a good book, and a necessary book, and the story was handled with the delicateness appropriate for the topic. For survivors, the flashback scenes are in italics, so it would be easy enough to skip over them if you'd like. The assault scene is fairly descriptive and frightening as is appropriate for an eighth grader being assaulted by an adult man.

Recommended for: teens
Red Flags: descriptions of assault, discussion of rape, slut-shaming,
Overall Rating: 5/5 stars

Read-Alikes: Speak, All the Rage, Learning to Breathe

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