Review: Rape Girl

Rape Girl by Alina Klein
Release Date ~ June 5, 2012
ISBN13: 9781608981236
E-galley received from publisher via Net Galley
Goodreads 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.
Rape Girl is the compelling story of a survivor who does the right thing and suffers for it. It is also the story of a young woman’s struggle to find the strength to fight back.
Rape Girl is a short book, but that doesn't mean it's an easy read. I hadn't even finished Chapter 1 before I realized my stomach was twisting itself into knots. It's dark and tragic, but not completely hopeless and in fact, it's quite the opposite in a lot of ways.

This is the kind of book we need to pay attention to because it raises questions and ideas we often shy away from. It's no secret that attitudes towards sexual assault and rape are less than satisfying and highly disappointing (to put it mildly), and this book completely scrutinizes those remarks. It's a bit painful to experience, but far too necessary to be ignored.

  1.  A real-life kind of story:

    I have to praise Alina for her boldness and openess in writing a story inspired by something which happened to her. And for writing the story which happens to far too many girls & women, many of whom don't share their story. There is something so raw and remarkable about reading what happened to Val and the decisions she made afterwards. It's awe-inspiring and heartbreaking, all rolled into one. Statistics say it's about 1 in 4 women who will have been sexually assaulted. THAT'S how common this is, but the shame is how often it's swepped under the rug. It means that if this hasn't happened to you, then it's likely happened to someone you know. And I only wish we could find a way to have more of an open forum regarding this so we can tackle it as a societal issue and do the best we can to FIX it. I believe that Rape Girl is a step towards that goal.
  2. Accurate portrayal of feelings & emotions:

    And not just on Val's part. Val, to me, seemed almost unbelievable at times because of how she deals with this head on. But I also realize that some people do make those decisions and respond in a similar way as she did. I saw this mostly, however, in the attitudes and ideas presented by secondary characters. It's digusting to read how many people (including former friends) refuse to believe Val, and call her a liar. Or say that she "wasn't really raped". But the truth is that these ARE still prevelant thoughts. And that's realy not okay, but I'm glad that this largely ended up being the main theme addressed.
  3. There's a hopeful slant towards healing:

    We're made well aware of how devasting and painful this can be - not just the sexual assault itself, but speaking out against it. But we also see a push towards gradual healing and an optimism that there can still be more to life than the past. It isn't easy or quick to come, but it can take root and slowly start to grow with time.

This is definitely a book with a social message, and one that should give us pause as we question some ideas we may be used to and forced to reconsider. It's about so much more than Valerie's circumstances.

I did feel that there were a few questions left unanswered regarding the plot itself (rather than the message and ideas being sent across), and some parts I found to be a tad unrealistic in some ways (based off my own experiences, which are clearly relative). And in some ways the story felt a bit too short for the story itself, even though it made its point loud and clear. The story is still surprisingly well thought out and enjoyable for so few pages, but it still seemed to suffer overall.

If only this book could be one step in the right direction towards addressing this dilemma. As hard as it is to read some parts, I think it's well worth the time.

Purchase Links
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Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

This book sounds amazing with the fact that it brings so much discussion to the table. It definitely must have been such a hard book for the author to write. This is a topic that needs to be put in the spotlight more because of how often it's swept under the rug, and I applaud Alina for writing this story!

Mel - Thedailyprophecy. said...

This book sounds good. I love the fact that it's about this topic.

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