Angela's Reviews > Rape Girl

Rape Girl by Alina Klein
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May 14, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: ebooks, first-reads, netgalley, read-2012, ya-children-s
Read in May, 2012

I read this book in one sitting. I made no notes or highlights whilst reading it, nor did I notice any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes or clunky sentences etc. I did not even realise I had spent the good part of a Saturday afternoon sitting inside reading a book when it was glorious weather outside as I was totally engrossed in Klein’s book from the very start.

Rape and sexual assault are very difficult subjects to write about effectively, and this book not only manages to do this but also throws in some punches at the same time. Reading the brief author biography at the end of the book, Klein mentions that she herself was raped as a teenager and by reporting this heinous crime inflicted on her, another five girls also found the courage to follow suit and come forward with similar stories. I can only applaud Klein for being brave enough to share this very personal part of her history, and for having the courage for writing this book, which could only have opened old emotional wounds. My metaphorical hat goes off to you.

Now for the book itself: I am not going to give a synopsis of the story as the title itself pretty much explains the gist of it, but in a nutshell this is the story of a sixteen year old girl who is raped, reports the crime, and the subsequent repercussions. The rape itself is not detailed at all but certainly implied; there is no guess work needed here on behalf of the reader. I think if the rape was more detailed and violent, the impact the overall book would be lost. This book highlights that the majority of rapes (I do not know the official statistics unfortunately, but it is a very high number) are committed by someone known to the victim; it highlights that not all cases are even reported, or reported far too late for any justice to occur; it highlights the suspicions of a high proportion of people who think the victim is lying, and it also highlights how few rape cases that are reported even make it court (again, official figures unknown but it is a very low percentage).

The narrating voice of Valerie, our protagonist, is refreshingly realistic in a literary world full of Mary-Sue’s. She expresses emotions of disgust, guilt, shame, disbelief and anger, all hinged with a note of depression and sadness. As she goes through these emotions, so did I. I was disgusted at her treatment, not just the rape itself but also by people she called ‘friends’, who told her to stop lying, siding with her attacker and bullying her. The headmaster at her school was simply awful as well, singling her out as though it was she who was in the wrong and not the attacker, I found myself getting increasingly frustrated and angry at him. Due to Klein’s superb writing, as a reader you understood why Valerie was ashamed of herself and why she blamed herself. Due to the actions of certain characters in the book, it was very easy to understand Valerie’s disbelief and anger, and it was easy for these feelings to transmit to the reader.

Although the title itself gives a good indication of what this book is about, I do not want to give too much away so for once I am not going to discuss individual characters (other than what I have already said about Valerie). All I will say is that this is a touching, horrifying and very realistic portrayal of a rape victim and how she deals with it. I also think this should be compulsory reading in high schools, for both girls and boys.

Now repeat after me: no means NO! No exceptions.

An advance reader copy was kindly supplied through Netgalley.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne Wow, sounds powerful. Thanks for the detailed review.

Angela Suzanne, I would highly recommend this book. Even my mother wants to read it after I told her about it, and we rarely read similar books.

rameau I read this this afternoon, and I have to agree with you. About the writing as well as about making this compulsory reading in schools.

As for statistics, I don't have them, and even if I did I'm sure they'd be different for my country but equally horrifying.

(I also might quote and link back to your review in mine when I post it.)

Angela I thought she handled the subject matter extremely well and although not the easiest of reads I was totally engrossed.

I think the statistics are rather horrifying in this country (UK) but it's been a while since I saw any to be honest. I may search for some tomorrow.

By all means link mine to your review, I would be honoured.

Anachronist Added to my tbr pile - thanks for sending the link!

Angela Cursory search and this was the second result. It's from the BBC website and reported back in September 2011. It shows a disturbingly high number of reports of rape being classified as a 'no crime'.

A rough estimate for national figures last year show that 12% of rapes were classified as a no crime. By my calculations that is a whopping 1912 out of 15,940!
24% lead to conviction or caution. That equals 3825.
71% end up in court, which equals 11,317.

Although the number of court case has risen in the UK, it still means that 4623 reports were not investigated further or dismissed.
I find that worrying and disgusting.

rameau And those were just the reported? Just how many were never reported?

Angela Precisely. It didn't mention anything about those at all.

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