Oh my word.
Oh my word.
Oh my word.
This book ought to be required reading in high schools. It paints a picture of a small town where everyone knows everyone and no one wants to disrupt the uneasy peace between neighbors. There are some major issues that never get resolved because of this- because people don’t want to have to rat on the ones they love and the loved ones of their loved ones.
Alex Craft’s sister was raped and murdered three years ago and, when the police couldn’t convict him, she took justice into her own hands and killed him herself. Now, in her senior year, she isn’t trusted by others and she doesn’t really care. She never felt much remorse, anyway.
Peekay is the preacher’s kid. She drinks, she parties, she swears (and like a sailor), her best friend is a lesbian, and she also believes in God. Which I really love- she’s not the PK that is perfect in every way, and she’s not the PK who rejected Christ years ago. She’s human, she follows the crowd, but she genuinely believes in God and that’s pretty awesome. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that her friend Sara is gay, because it breaks the stereotype that all Christians hate LGBTQ+ people into PIECES. (Definitely not a true stereotype- dude, I’m Christian and I’m an ally. It’s not our job to condemn or judge or whatever, no matter your personal belief as to what is a sin and what isn’t. But I digress. Message me if you want an earful.)
Jack is tied for valedictorian, a major athlete, best friends w/ benefits with the unanimously-decided hottest cheerleader, and yet is so broken inside. He gets around, and hates it, but also enjoys his life. He’s got a bit of a crush on Alex and seeing as she’s such a pariah it’d be kind of difficult to date her.
Even now that Anna’s rapist has been killed, Alex still works on honing her ability to kill. She will not hesitate to attack someone if they drop a casual rape joke, to defend other girls when they are sexualized. She’s the vigilante for them when no one else will stand with them, willing to do horrible things to men who violate or even think abut violating someone. And she feels no guilt. She can hold puppies and kittens and calm the angriest and most frightened of animals, she relates better to books than to people, and I really love her as a character. She does horrible things that I’m not going to justify because torture is not cool, but her message is clear and one that everyone MUST LISTEN TO: Rape culture is present in high school, and it is prominent. While this might not always be the physical act- which too many people take as the meaning of ‘rape culture’- but it is the jokes and the sexualizing and the genitalia drawn on the backs of chairs and on the desks. It is the fact that they talk to us more about drugs and alcohol and whatever when we’ve heard the same message ten times already, and they don’t talk about rape. Sure, there’s the mention of “You can tell us, talk to your counselor if you have issues with people, yada yada” but the fact that one in three women will be sexually assaulted (and remember- this does not necessarily have to be sex forced on someone, but any sexual violation of one’s body) is scarily omitted. And it’s not just women that can be raped, too- men can be victims as well.
This book is so important, especially now, when so-called ‘locker room talk’ is legitimized and women are ignored even when they scream for help, for someone to listen when they say no and the other person doesn’t listen. It’s so important in a day and age when, when they finally get the courage to go and relive their darkest moments and, instead of getting the justice they deserve and need so much, they are blamed and are called sluts, whores, girls who shouldn’t have been wearing the clothing that they wore that particular day. Women that must have done something to encourage it because boys will be boys and women simply are women.
And that is, very probably, the biggest problem in our society. The fact that we can excuse horrendous acts by claiming the male gender and dump the blame on someone for the simple reason that they are female.