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SAFE by Susan Shaw


by Susan Shaw

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-525-47829-4
Publisher: Dutton

After her devastating look at the effects of child abuse in The Boy from the Basement (2006), Shaw deftly tackles another difficult topic: the psychological wounds caused by a violent rape. Without really describing the attack or even using the word “rape” until late in the narrative, she focuses on 13-year-old Tracy’s inability to cope with her trauma, nearly eliminating any suspense about the crime or the criminal. Instead, suspense centers on Tracy’s emotional turmoil as the girl retreats into a solitary world after the attack. Nearly unable to leave her house, Tracy becomes obsessed with playing the piano, an activity she previously disliked. She’s comfortable only with her father and her best friend Caroline, and she isn’t too sure about Caroline. Visits to a therapist appear to make her worse. Readers may become as frustrated as Tracy with her slow progress, but the girl’s courageous struggle will keep them reading. Compelling and affecting, especially for Shaw’s audience. (Fiction. YA)