A 16-year-old girl courageously confronts rape culture after being assaulted by a boy she trusted.
Emma and her best friend, Jen, both have a crush on the same boy, popular athlete Ross, but the two girls have a falling out when Ross pays attention to Emma. After offering her a ride home, he rapes her and then tells everyone at school that their sex was consensual—and they believe him. In addition to facing cruel gossip and judgment from her peers, Emma becomes pregnant and suffers a miscarriage. Both the family doctor and her mother let her down, treating her with disapproval and implying that she behaved irresponsibly by having sex without using contraception. Fortunately, the school counselor is unconditionally supportive and informs her of her rights. Emma persists in reaching out to Jen, who is now dating Ross, feeling an obligation to warn her. Emma ultimately also advocates for herself. The fast pace is balanced by informative content about consent, double standards, male allies, and other subjects relevant to teenagers’ lives. Without ever launching into a lecture or infodump, the author skillfully shows rather than tells the toll toxic masculinity takes on teens and their families. Emma’s first-person narration effectively conveys her emotional journey. All characters are assumed white.
An emotional, positive #MeToo story for reluctant readers. (Fiction. 12-18)