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STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

SCARS book cover

Kendra must face her past and stop hurting herself--before it's too late.

Awards: #1 in the Top 10 ALA Quick Picks, ALA's Rainbow List, a Governor General Literary Award Finalist, Staff Pick for Teaching Tolerance.

Yes, it's my own arm on the cover of SCARS.

HUNTED book cover

Caitlyn, a telepath in a world where having any paranormal power at all can kill her, must decide between saving herself or saving the world.

Awards: A finalist for the Monica Hughes Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy, and the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Award.

PARALLEL VISIONS book cover

Kate sees visions of the future--but only when she has an asthma attack. When she "sees" her sister being beaten, and a schoolmate killing herself, Kate must trigger more attacks--but that could kill her.

Awards: 2013 Gold Winner, Wise Bear Digital Awards, YA Paranormal category.

STAINED book cover

Sarah, a teen with a port-wine stain and body image issues, is abducted, and must find a way to rescue herself.

“Powerful. I raced through it, wanting to know if Sarah would find a way to escape both her captor and her self-doubts. A real nail-biter!“
- April Henry, NY Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die

See Previous Book

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Teen Books That Have Something to Say


Strong at the Heart: How It Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse

Review

Strong at the Heart: How It Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse
by Carolyn Lehman
Farrar, Straus and Giroux,(2005)
ISBN-10: 0374372829

My rating:



The most important thing I want to say to people is this: if you've been abused or assaulted, hold on. And no matter how bad you feel, don't kill yourself. One way or another, the person who did it will get payback. Even if they don't, you've got the rest of your own life to live.
--Sheena in Strong at the Heart, Carolyn Lehman, p. 64.

Strong at the Heart is an important non-fiction book for teen readers, and for anyone who's survived sexual abuse or knows someone who has. It contains 9 stories of sexual abuse from 11 different people, stories that are written with compassion and sensitivity. The survivors are a comprehensive mixture of females and males from different backgrounds and ages, who tell their experiences of sexual abuse as a child or teen, and speak of their healing. The book also includes a thoughtful and wise introduction by the author, Lehman, who is herself a survivor of abuse. Lehman clearly understands both the impact of sexual abuse, and the different healing journeys that survivors must take.

The interviews show the many different scenarios that abuse can take place in--both girls and boys being sexually abused, from date rape to clergy abuse, stranger rape to incest. The stories help dispel some myths, such as that boys can't be sexually abused, or that a figure of authority such as a minister is always safe. It can open the eyes of people to the pain that might be around them, in their friends, their own family, and help validate and strengthen survivors.

Readers should know ahead of time that the content may be upsetting, and to read the book at their own pace.

Each interview contains black-and-white photos of the survivor being interviewed, which bring faces to the stories, and can help make the survivors more real to the reader. Since many survivors feel isolated and alone, as if they are the only ones, these photos are an important part of the book, and may help to dispel some of the shame survivors feel, and help them realize on a deeper level that there are other people out there who have similar experiences.

The interviews are placed so that some of the potentially easier-to-read stories are placed first (one-time or not as frequent rape with strangers or people outside the family) and then move into more frequent abuse and incest. This can help ease a reader into the book. This placement may initially put off survivors of frequent, extreme abuse, who may be afraid that their stories will not be found here--but they just have to read on.

The book closes with an interview with three survivor activists, and then moves into an extensive resource section. The resources include books (both fiction and non-fiction), films, websites, and organizations (both support and activist) for male and female survivors, and even offenders.

It is clear from this book that talking about the abuse is part of what helps lessen the great pain and shame, and that survivors each find different ways to move through that pain and to heal. It also shows the great strength, courage, and tenacity that survivors have. This book can let other teens and adults know that they are not alone, that they deserve to find safety and healing, and that talking about the abuse and reaching out to others can help that healing happen.

This book is a great resource, a strong educational tool, and a book that can help validate survivors' experiences and encourage them in their healing. Well worth reading and sharing.

Readers or those interested in knowing more about the book can also check out Lehman's site, where she has her own blog, a bit of info about herself, some good ideas on how to help yourself or someone you know who's been abused, and a ton of great resources.


Want more books?

Go back to Abuse and Trauma: Coming Out the Other Side to find great Teen Books That Have Something to Say.

Or, go to Teen Books That Have Something to Say to see all of the books.