Sexual Assault Awareness Month: 5 YA Books to Read this April

Though there’s been some buzz in the U.S. about whether Donald Trump’s observation of Sexual Assault Awareness Month is sincere or not, SAAM is still here, and we’re still going to observe it. Whether you’re going to observe SAAM by giving to a nonprofit, spreading the word, educating others or educating yourself, we’ve gathered some appropriate reading material.

These five books were chosen for those who want to observe SAAM by putting themselves in survivors’ shoes. These books will open your eyes, and hopefully help you open others’ eyes, too.


1. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

 

exit pursued by a bear, pursued by a bear, exit pursued by a bear book, pursued by a bear book, ek johnston, ek johnston books, ya books, young adult books, sexual assault books, ya fiction, ya book magazine, fictionist, fictionist magazine,

This book, like all of the others in this list, will stick with you.

“Sure,” you might think, upon reading the first page or two, “another story about a cheerleader who gets pregnant.”

But it’s so much more than that.

Hermione Winters is the captain of a cheer team that means more to her small town than any sporting team could. She thinks that this last cheer camp marks the beginning of her last season, and her legacy rests on what she’ll do this year. What she doesn’t know is that someone will slip something into her drink during a party at camp. And what she really doesn’t know is what really happened after everything went black.

When she wakes up in a hospital, it all takes a while to sink in… and it doesn’t get any easier, either. Hermione has to make some hard decisions, and E.K. Johnston’s writing makes sure you’re invested from the first word.


2. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

 

Written in the Stars isn’t another story about an American girl dealing with sexual assault in her American high school. Nope.

In Naila’s world, falling in love isn’t allowed. Her parents have one rule: They choose her husband. Sure, she can choose what to wear, how to wear her hair, what she wants to be when she grows up… but she can’t date anyone, and she certainly can’t go falling in love. At least, not unless it’s with the man they choose for her to marry.

So when they find out she’s in love with Saif, it doesn’t go well. Her parents take her to Pakistan to “explore her roots,” but what was supposed to be just a visit turns into so much more. She actually starts enjoying their visit to Pakistan, until her parents decide who she needs to marry. She’s rushed into a wedding in Pakistan and severed from her family, as well as any contact with Saif. He becomes her only hope for escape… if he can find her.

Read this book if you like being shaken down to your core.


3. Thirteen Reasons Why By Jay Asher

thirteen reasons why, 13 reasons why, thirteen reasons why book, thirteen reasons why jay asher, thirteen reasons why original, thirteen reasons why netflix, watch thirteen reasons why, ya books, young adult books, sexual assault books, ya fiction, ya book magazine, fictionist, fictionist magazine,

If you haven’t already read Thirteen Reasons Why, you may still recognize the name from the Netflix show that was released this month. The show has good reviews so far, but as we bookish types know, the book is always better.

Thirteen Reasons Why follows Clay’s story, but Hannah is the real star. The only reason the book doesn’t follow her is, well… she’s dead.

The whole school has been mourning Hannah for a week, and everyone’s been acting weird, including Clay’s parents. Which makes sense, since a girl did just commit suicide. No one seems to know why, either. Everything is strange and Clay doesn’t know what to think.

So when he finds a mysterious box on his porch, he opens it. And when he finds cassette tapes, he listens. And when Hannah Baker’s voice cuts through his ears to tell him that there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself — and that he is one of them — he keeps listening.

Hannah’s story is one of seemingly small bits and pieces, but they all added up. Enough to kill Hannah Baker, at least.


4. Sold by Patricia McCormick

sold, sold book, sold patricia mccormick, ya books, young adult books, sexual assault books, ya fiction, ya book magazine, fictionist, fictionist magazine,

If you couldn’t guess by the title, Sold is about how Lakshmi was sold.

It wasn’t violent or anything. She thought she was taking a job to help her impoverished family. When she moved to “Happiness House” in India from Nepal, she thought she had taken a job as a maid.

She didn’t know she had been sold into prostitution.

Sold follows Lakshmi through her unimaginable life, written in “spare and evocative vignettes.” Lakshmi doesn’t just survive, however. She triumphs.


5. All the Rage by Courtney Summers

all the rage, all the rage book, ya books, young adult books, sexual assault books, ya fiction, ya book magazine, fictionist, fictionist magazine,

Romy Grey has to convince everyone that she isn’t a liar. Which is pretty hard to do when you’re accusing Kellan Turner. He isn’t just a normal golden boy — he’s the Sheriff’s son.

Constantly bullied and called a liar, Romy begins to give up. Her favorite place is the diner outside of town, where no one knows who she is.

But after more stories about Kellan start leaking out, and a girl with ties to Romy and Kellan goes missing, she has to decide whether she wants to stay in the shadows or come out and fight.

All the Rage examines rape culture and how it affects sexual assault survivors. Romy’s story is much like the stories of countless girls who either try to speak and are silenced, or who can’t find the courage to speak at all.


This isn’t an all-inclusive list! We left off books like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker, The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith, and many, many more.

Comment below if you want to add more titles or discuss SAAM!

1 thought on “Sexual Assault Awareness Month: 5 YA Books to Read this April”

  1. I would also recommend “Asking for it” by Louise O’Neill- I can’t remember exactly, but it deals with the issue of slut-shaming, and the main character is victim to sexual assault.

Share some choice words with us.