Rating: 4 stars
Hermione Winters is captain of her cheerleading squad, adored by everyone and pretty smart. After a blacked out night at cheer camp, her world changes as she searches her memory for the guy that drugged her and raped her. As dark as this novel sounds and as mature as the content is, there are no gritty details or horrific explanations of what happened. The story focusses more on Hermione and the relationships she has with the people around her.
The writing style fully drew me in. I polished this book off so quickly, mostly because I couldn’t it down. It wasn’t as though the story was so full of action, but it left me feeling riveted throughout. There were times it was challenging to pull away from the story despite the somewhat slow start.
Another aspect I really loved about the book was Hermione’s relationship with Polly. She was such a brilliant friend, a fantastic side kick, and her unwavering devotion to Hermione due to all of the upsets was everything someone would hope for. I would have loved more of this in the story actually. Further development on this relationship could have made for an even more powerful book.
There were a few things that I felt the book could have used more of. The first section seemed to drag out the cheer camp, and included many details I found rather unnecessary, whereas later on, it felt as though huge sections had whipped by where more details of her life and the aftermath could have been present. There were also a few areas of the book, a few incidences that I would have liked more internal monologue. With the possibility of her being pregnant, there was so much room for internal dialogue that seemed a little short changed.
I would definitely read more from this author. The writing style was a real selling point for me, as even though some parts were a little slower, I was still so engaged by the way the story was told. I also loved the Canadian content. I’m familiar with many of the place names mentioned in the book.
Recommendations: Well, rape stories are always difficult to pin down their age level. Despite the fact that the story itself is more mature, I would have no trouble giving this to grade 8 students, as the subject matter isn’t unfamiliar to them. There’s no horrific scenes, or shocking descriptions that would make the story itself traumatic. It does vary from kid to kid, as some are just not mature enough to read a story about something like this.
Themes: overcoming adversity, sexual assault, friendship, rumours