abuse

Deerskin

By Robin McKinley
4
Rated by Anne G
Feb 21, 2020

     You know, sometimes you just need some escapist fantasy about self-discovery in women.  McKinley's seventeen-year-old girl Lissar was just the ticket for me last night. Deesrkin is a beautiful, haunting, and sometimes painful coming-of-age story that ends with a message of hope.  The first half of the fantasy fiction is really about the traumatic aftermath of a violent assault and rape by the heroine's own father.  These dark themes are handled appropriately, realistically, and with great compassion but they do make for some hard reading in the gateway fantasy.   


     If you have any

Three Women

By Lisa Taddeo
4
Rated by Lisa A.
Nov 4, 2019

I have feelings about this book. It’s graphic. Sometimes maybe too much so, though it bothers me I would say that. The subject is clear: female desire. But in truth, there’s nothing clear about desire. We want what we want—or don’t—for reasons we sometimes don’t know, for reasons that stem from harmful situations or events. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s complicated—desire is complicated, sex is complicated, and the implications of sex and how sex affects us throughout our lives is complicated.


Three Women follows three women for a span of eight years. Each woman’s story is different

One of the Boys

By Daniel Magariel
5
Rated by Chris K.
Jul 3, 2018

Wow. This little book packs a punch. One of the Boys is short, quick reading, deceptively simple, and deeply affecting.


The twelve-year-old narrator has always revered his affable, charismatic father. After witnessing a "war" of separation and divorce, he desperately wants to be "one of the boys" with his dad and older brother when they decide to leave Kansas for New Mexico. He wants to be there to experience his dad's promised freedom to be like a kid again. So he does what it takes to make it happen.


As they settle into their new lives, the brothers gradually realize their dad uses

Apr 6, 2018

Maybe lives on the streets with a tribe of homeless teens. These kids are runaways and throwaways, they have no place to go except cold city streets and have no family other than each other. They are abused, abandoned, and forgotten by society, every day they struggle to survive against the cold, hunger, and constant danger. But now there is a new girl, Tears, a 12 year old whose mother didn’t believe she had been abused by her stepfather. As the other kids start to disappear from violence, addiction, and exposure, Maybe tries to help Tears get off the streets before it becomes too late.


I

Silent Child

By Sarah A. Denzil
4
Rated by Amanda W.
Dec 27, 2017

Aiden was six when he went missing during a bad rainstorm which flooded the banks of the river that runs through their village. His family and police believed he had been swept away by the river and drowned, having only found his jacket floating in the river and no body. Ten years later his mom is married and in her last month of pregnancy when she gets the incredible news that Aiden is alive. Told from the viewpoint of Aiden's mom, Emma, the Silent Child is a psychological thriller that will engulf you in the chaos of Emma's intense emotions as she tries to figure out who took Aiden.


What

The Sound of Gravel

By Ruth Wariner
5
Rated by Catherine G.
Mar 3, 2017

This book was extremely hard to read, but also hard to put down.


The Sound of Gravel is the memoir of Ruth Wariner, a woman who spent the first fifteen years of her life in hell. Ruth was born into a poverty stricken, fundamentalist Mormon colony in rural Mexico in the 70s. Her father, who was killed when she was a baby, had 42 children. Ruth grew up with her mom, nine siblings, and step-father. They lived in a tiny house with a dirt floor and no indoor plumbing or electricity. Mouse droppings on the kitchen floor and wind blowing through the mud walls of the house were the norm.


Ruth's

The Sound of Gravel

By Ruth Wariner
4
Rated by Caitlin T.
Jan 31, 2017

The Sound of Gravel is the true story of Ruth Wariner, a young girl growing up as a Mormon fundamentalist in the 80’s, traveling between Mexico and the United States with her ever expanding family. After Ruthie’s father is killed by his own brother when, her mother remarries, becoming the second wife to a practicing polygamist. Ruthie spends the majority of her youth living on a Mexican commune in a house without plumbing or electricity, sharing a bed with her mother and siblings, and living off government checks that her mother receives by falsely claiming US residency. She passes her time

But I Love Him

By Amanda Grace
4
Rated by Jackie S.
Nov 9, 2016

Told mostly in reverse order, But I Love Him chronicles the relationship between Anna and Connor. The reader is introduced to Anna, a high school senior, who has spent the past year focused on Connor, and has slowly given up the people and things that were important to her prior to meeting him.


Through Anna’s accounts of her interactions with Connor and people in their lives, the reader gets a sense of the conflicted feelings Anna has toward him. The story being told from end to beginning is similar to viewing a mess being picked up—it starts off as a disaster, but piece by piece, things

Crazy Brave

By Joy Harjo
4
Rated by Helen H.
May 12, 2016

It took Joy Harjo fourteen years to write her memoir Crazy Brave. In it she tells of her parents' tumultuous marriage. Harjo's beautiful mother opposes her own father, traveling to Tulsa, Oklahoma in search of a mate. When young, Harjo's father had been sent to a military academy where he “learned anger as a method to control sensitivity.” When the violent marriage ends, an abusive stepfather steps in to consume the family. At sixteen, when her stepfather tries to send her to a Christian boarding school, Joy pleads with her mother to send her, instead, to The Institute of American Indian Arts.

The Bean Trees

By Barbara Kingsolver
5
Rated by Becky C.
Jan 5, 2016

Taylor Greer has just graduated from high school in rural Kentucky. Born to a poor, single mother and without many of life’s advantages, Taylor manages to talk her way into a lab technician’s job at the hospital, save enough money to buy a beat up Volkswagen Bug, and get out of town before she winds up pregnant or as some tobacco farmer’s wife. Most of Taylor’s pluckiness can be attributed to the roots her mother has provided her—encouragement and faith in her daughter’s abilities that are worth far more than the money she doesn’t have to offer.


Taylor heads west in her Bug without a

Reality Boy

By A.S. King
5
Rated by Becky C.
Nov 2, 2015

Reality Boy is a work of fiction that shows the awful truth about Reality TV. But don’t let the word “awful” turn you off. This is an amazingly well written book. The author, A.S. King, does something magical: Just as you begin to lose faith in the human race, she shows us how it's all going to be OK. For Gerald. And for us.


Gerald's a seventeen-year-old who starred on a reality TV show when he was five. I don't know about you, but I get embarrassed when my mom shares goofy pictures of me as a kid on Facebook. Can you imagine what it's like to have your whole life broadcast before the

33 Snowfish

By Adam Rapp
4
Rated by Becky C.
Oct 15, 2015

What a sad, sick, powerful story. Three runaways desperately attempt to flee from the ugliness they've always known. These kids are both awful and sympathetic. Custis, a homeless boy, narrates most of the story. When strangers ask how old he is, his reply is always just, "old enough". Custis never mentions his parents or any permanent caregivers. He has recently fled a pedophile who, in exchange for “owning” Custis, had been letting him sleep on the floor in a room that smells like dog. During his escape, Custis befriends two other runaways—Boobie, a 17-year-old who has just murdered his

Those Girls

By Chevy Stevens
4
Rated by Lisa J.
Sep 3, 2015

Growing up in a rural British Columbia is difficult enough for Jess, Courtney and Dani Campbell before their mother dies.  But after their mother passes things really get difficult. One night things get really bad; Jess grabs the shotgun and accidentally shoots and kills their dad.  Afraid of what will happen, the girls hide the body and take off for Vancouver before anyone can realize what has happened. When the truck breaks down in the middle of nowhere they reluctantly accept help from two young men who are passing by and things go unbelievably downhill from there.  Because they fear a

If You Find Me

By Emily Murdoch
4
Rated by Peggy H.
Oct 22, 2014

What a heart wrenching, yet inspiring, read this was! I listened to the audio book and couldn't tear myself away. It's been a long time since I found myself so immersed in a story, or since I have read a story so incredibly tragic and yet, at the same time so hopeful.


The main character is Carey, who believes she is 15 years old. She suffers abuse and neglect at the hands of her meth addicted, mentally ill mother who kidnapped her away from her father when she was five.  She has been hidden away in the Obed Wild and Scenic National Park in Tennessee, along with a six year old half sister. 

May 11, 2012

The Tale of One Bad Rat is a very special story. In this graphic novel, Bryan Talbot tackles the serious subject of child sexual abuse and its after-effects. “Once upon a time, there was a very bad rat …” thus begins the story of Helen Potter, an abused English teenager, who runs away from home with her beloved pet rat and finds herself begging on the streets of London. Helen, an artist herself, has always found solace in the books of (Helen) Beatrix Potter and found similarities between her life and the life of her favorite author. Beatrix Potter’s courage and success provide a very powerful

Bent Road by Lori Roy

0
Rated by Jane R.
Oct 21, 2011

Described as an American Gothic Suspense thriller, this story centers around Arthur Scott’s childhood home on Bent Road  in western Kansas.  He left in the 1940’s following the tragic death of his beloved older sister. In 1967 when racial tensions in Detroit made life complicated for Arthur’s family, he moved his family of five back to the western Kansas neighborhood.  Adjustments were difficult, especially for Arthur’s wife, Celia, and the two youngest children, Daniel and Evie.  Most of the narrative is from the point of view of these three.  All is not peaceful and calm on this prairie.  A

ROOM by Emma Donohue

0
Rated by Jane R.
Jul 12, 2011

How would you learn to use stairs if you lived every day of your first five years in an 11' x11' room? What it would it be like to see a bird flying, or know what a blade of grass looks like? That's life for Jack. His Ma has been held captive in the room for seven years. She bore and raised Jack there, living off the frugal "generosity" of their captor. Told entirely by Jack, this poignant and often oddly funny narrative begs the question "what kind of ROOM are you living in?" Jack is not a victim. He knows nothing else. Room, chair, rug, duvet and other items are his world and his family. I

Dec 15, 2010

The Clearing by Heather Davis The Clearing by Heather Davis is a kind of time travel romance. Amy, a senior in high school, has moved to a small town to live with her great aunt after her suffering physical and mental abuse at the hands of her boyfriend. Amy hopes that by moving to this small rural town she will be able to put the past behind her. Being a city girl, Amy explores her aunt's farm and discovers a thick mist that has settled over the clearing behind the wood pile.

Henry is stuck in June 1944, the summer he turns 18 and will be drafted into the army as his brother Robert was before him. Ever since Henry

Nov 3, 2010

heartshapedbox.jpgI started reading this book with a bit of trepidation. I expected the book to be pretty scary, or at least somewhat frightening. Initially I did find the story to be a bit creepy, but as the story continued, it lost its scare factor. Finding out the ghost is haunting Judas Coyne for a specific reason suddenly saps all the terror, and some of the events are pretty hokey: the ghost came with a suit, packed in a heart-shaped box that Jude stuck in a back closet. The ghost sends an email to Jude from the address box.closet.net. Truly un-scary and just too laughable. The plot is predictable, so

Oct 26, 2010

Half the SkyFirst, let me apologize to those readers who are on the waiting list for Half the Sky. While certainly compelling, it is not a quick read, and I took more than my fair check out period. As a conscientious borrower, let my overdue status serve as a testament to the weight of this book. According to the accompanying website www.halftheskymovement.orgHalf the Sky lays out an agenda for the world's women and three major abuses: sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape; maternal mortality, which needlessly claims one woman a minute”

Feb 22, 2010

The Color Purple by Alice WalkerEver since the release of the movie Precious, with its six Academy Award nominations, the book it’s based on, Push by the author Sapphire, has become popular. I love underdogs. Any chance I get to wallow in another’s sorrow is one I rarely pass up. When I first heard what Precious/Push is about—a sexually, emotionally, and physically abused African-American teenager growing up in Harlem—I couldn’t wait to see it. Instead, I fell victim to the movie’s hype and wanted to love the movie much more than I actually did. Both Gabourey Sidibe in the lead role and Mo'Nique in a supporting role did