My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Content warnings: sex, violence, sexual assault, mental illness dealing with PTSD, alcohol use, drug use, mentions of death, heterosexual relationships
I’m going to quote one of my GR friends here about the content warnings. Only because she explains some of the warnings in better terms than I ever will be and you should all read her review anyway.
This book addresses the aftermath of violence and sexual assault, as well as the devastating effects of PTSD. If the mentions of these topics are a potential issue for you I would caution you, but I wouldn’t discourage you from reading.
In fact, I feel this book should be on high school reading lists. It is one of the most honest and realistic depictions of teen sex (both positive and negative) I’ve read in a long time. When popular culture and young adult fiction are cramming romantic, and often times unrealistic, fantasies of teen sex down our throats at ever turn, I think it’s important to give kids a dose of realism.
Sex can be a lot of things. Fun, distracting, comforting, invigorating, even violent and traumatizing. It is a spectrum, ranging from beautiful to ugly. Often, especially in popular Young Adult and New Adult fiction, we only look at the two extremes of “making love” and sexual abuse. Sometimes we even see them in the same story, but rarely do I see them depicted with the honestly and realism young readers deserve.
I have nothing against escapism, but I believe it’s important to temper it with realism to foster healthy attitudes about sex and relationships. Especially, when the rates of sexual assault and abuse among teens is reaching epidemic levels. (44% of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 18. [source])
Sex & Violence covers the spectrum of sex, from casual hook-ups, to friendly make out sessions, and even brutal sexual assault. It also addresses the effects of sex on a young person, and creates a great opportunity to discuss sex, violence, emotional health, sexual and emotional boundaries, with young readers, be they students, siblings or your own children.
I do agree with her that this book should be on high school reading lists. And it DEFINITELY creates good opportunities to discuss and help create healthy boundaries (sexually and emotionally and can be used to help for physical boundaries as well). And should be used for those.
Though, I should say, I’m not quite as much of a fan of the book as she is. Partly because I read it in a bad mental state (even though I know better than to do that but sometimes I do it anyway because I make bad decisions sometimes).
This was another book that I’d put under the heading of healing. Because of how it goes into detail of healing after traumatic incidents. I’d definitely say that if you have any issues with the topics of this book, proceed into this book with caution and read when you’re in a good place.
It hit a lot of points hard for me due to subject matter. And I’m definitely recommending it to my friends with children as something they should have them read and then discuss afterwards with.
The writing style didn’t fully mesh with my reading style (which is totally alright since not everyone’s writing will mesh with everyone’s reading) which is part of why it got 3 stars and although I feel this book can be a good learning tool I didn’t completely love it.
Buy it here: