TRIGGER WARNING FOR RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT
“This is what it is to be caught, to be powerless and frozen, to be turned into nothing. This is when your own body, your own voice, becomes your enemy, when it won’t even listen to you because it’s his now, because he’s stolen it, because he controls it with your own fear.”
Three teenage girls start a group to avenge the rape of a girl who never saw her assailants get punished for what they did. But in the process they trigger something much bigger. They empower the girls in their high school to fight with the misogynistic culture. They become their safe space.
The writing style is impeccable. The language author uses is so… soft. So light. Almost too light for a book that breaches topics that are so heavy. But it works with the story so, so beautifully.
The story shifts between the POVs of the main three girls, but we also get another perspective. “Us”. It gives us glimpses into the lives of other girls. And it was one of my favourite things about this book.
Grace Salter is the new girl in town. Her family was shunned from their community after her preacher mother’s views turned much more liberal. Making new friends is not easy, but being shy and overweight make it for her even harder.
Rosina Suarez is a queer girl in a conservative Mexican family. She dreams of being a punk star, but has to settle for watching over her cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.
Erin Delillo is the school’s “weird kid”. But her Asperger’s syndrome is not something that holds her back. She’s insanely intelligent and determined to become more than her mother, who gave up on continuing education and chose to marry instead.
That’s not all. There are so many other characters who have stories that are just as important. And all of them are crafted masterfully. Their pain, their struggles and experiences are so relatable, so incredibly real. I think it’s really hard not to find a piece of yourself in this book.
This story is beautiful. It’s painful and heart wrenching. But it also gave me hope. It resonated with me deeply. Reading this book I felt seen. Understood. Not alone. A part of something bigger. It was almost a spiritual experience.
However, the content of this book is extremely triggering. It made me cry more than once. It made me think about things I wasn’t fully comfortable with. But I feel like it changed something in me. Like it made me a better person.
This book should be on every required reading list everywhere. I feel like it could make this world a much better place.
It touches on so many important subjects: rape, rape culture, slut shaming, consent, victim blaming, virginity, female masturbation, the biased system in cases of sexual assault, immigration, harrasment, the weight of family expectations… and much, much more.
Never before have I felt so seen. So understood. And so empowered.