Maya goes to the principal at her private school with a black eye and tells her principal that their track star and all-around Good Guy of campus hit her. The news spreads fast across campus as different perspectives are pulled to the readers’ attention. Masterfully touching on a variety of issues including addiction, self, harm, recovering from abuse, anxiety, drug use, and eating disorders, the central theme of Sheinmel’s novel is exploring and challenging our communities’ justifications for victim blaming, and not believing survivors. Primarily following two best friends, Maya and Junie, as they navigate being friends, being honest about their struggles, and being manipulated by a society that doesn’t support survivors.
I could not possibly recommend this book enough. Both heartbreaking and hopeful, Alyssa Sheinmel paints a realistic portrayal of abusers, survivors, and the community around abuse. Abusers are often charming and well-liked, survivors have complicated feelings and reactions, communities don’t want to believe abuse could happen and often forget to center survivors. Teens Maya and Junie struggle with more than their survivorship and make healing connections across issues. The novel’s culminating resolution is leaning on your support systems for help and uplifting survivors’ self-advocacy.
Who should read it?
- High School and College Students
- School Personnel
- Support System of Teens
- 13 + Girls Empowerment Groups
- Survivors of Assault and Abuse