Dance-team prestige, loyal friends, affluent Seattle family—Coley, 15, seems to have it all, but her sunny persona hides a private, nighttime dread.
Coley’s blossoming romance with Reece makes it harder to separate those worlds, and her gift for walling off the unpleasant—like the rift with her longtime best friend, Alejandra—isn’t working. With her overprotective mother and stepfather, ally and troubled older brother, Bryan, and younger triplet half siblings, Coley feels smothered, not safe. When Reece is permitted to join the family ski trip to Whistler, B.C., Coley finds that her childhood strategy of quiet endurance, rather than preventing the abuse, enables it to escalate. What makes this more than another “problem” novel is the author’s steadfast refusal to deal in stereotypes and easy answers. Coley’s more than the victim of sexual abuse—just as her abuser is more than a collection of abusive behaviors. Who we are and what we do are different things. Oversimplifying character motivations would have made this a less harrowing read but also a less powerful one. Unraveling her thicket of tangled emotions is a confusing and painful journey for Coley, but the bedrock truth she uncovers sustains her: Freedom from molestation is a human right.
Required reading for anyone who’s ever wondered “why didn’t they just tell someone?” (resources [not seen]) (Fiction. 14 & up)