Monday, 21 November 2016

No Virgin by Anne Cassidy

No Virgin
by Anne Cassidy


Summary: My name is Stacey Woods and I was raped.

Stacey is the victim of a terrible sexual attack. She does not feel able to go to the police, or talk about it to anybody other than her best friend, Patrice. Patrice, outraged, when she cannot persuade her to go to the police, encourages Stacey to write everything down. This is Stacey's story.
Before I start this review, I just want to warn you that there will be some spoilers. I can't really explain my thoughts on it without them.

I'm not really sure how to feel about this book to be honest. It wasn't a bad book, but I finished it nearly two weeks ago and still haven't been able to review it -- so, this is me winging it and we'll see if I can form some sort of coherent opinion.

To begin with, the format wasn't really my kind of thing. The writing style was quite mediocre through a lot of the book and I'm not sure if that was intentional or not because it is written in a journal-ish sort of format. It was easy to overlook that once I got caught up in the story, but I didn't like it in the beginning.

And the story? I think that's why I've had a hard time thinking of what to say about this book. The story is really quite bleak -- it's this raw and awful thing that happens to this character, and the story doesn't gloss over anything that happens to her. The details never seem gratuitous or like they were done for shock value (which, unfortunately, many books about rape are)... It just seemed honest. But it wasn't really hopeful. The bleakness persisted almost right to the end, there were maybe one or two scenes of hopefulness but the end still felt quite abrupt and unsatisfying.

When I read stories like this, there's always that part of me that wants to see justice done (which, I know, isn't the reality for many cases). That wants to see the part of the story where things are okay again, where the character has made it through this storm that has wrecked them and they're on the other side of it. And that was not this book. We don't get that -- we just get the reality and the tiniest hint that the character will get there, then the rest is left to the reader.

Books about rape are never easy to read, but I found this one particularly difficult because of that lack of closure. Again, that doesn't make this a bad book -- just one that is hard to read (and hard to review).

The book also wasn't at all what I was expecting it to be. Based on the title, I thought it was going to be about the slut shaming that some rape victims go through, the way some are made to feel like they're less of a victim or the wrong type of victim if they're promiscuous but it wasn't like that. It barely even touched on that, which wasn't a bad thing, just unexpected.

This book instead offers something that I've not really seen done before in YA stories about rape. There's many stories about date rape, about stranger rape, about acquaintance rape, but this is the first I've seen about grooming. About how a girl (or anyone really) can be manipulated into situations and forced to do things they don't want to do, how the circumstances can make them feel that what happened was their fault and they would be blamed or not believed, and how their abusers use that. The book did show that really well.

So...that's all I've got. I did not like this book. But it wasn't a bad book. I didn't hate it either, though I hate what happens in it. It's an important one, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it to someone even though I do think it's an important story.

I'd rate the book 3.5 stars out of 5.

Later.

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