Here’s a young adult book to look for. SAFE, by Susan Shaw, won’t be out until October, but I’m reading it now in publisher’s galleys for a book review.
There is no mystery about what happened. Walking home on the last day of 7th grade, Tracy is abducted by an older teen, raped, and left for dead. We know it happened, so does she. The story takes place over that awful summer, the aftermath, while she struggles to find enough security in her life so that she can begin to deal with the reality of the assault.
At last, a novel that really focuses on healing. What I like about this book is that Tracy is no pitiful victim. Even as she goes through a period of agraphobia and isolation, she is finding ways to help herself, figuring out how to live after overwhelming trauma and loss.
She has a lot to draw on, a kind father, the memory of a loving mother, good friends who wait in the wings for her “return.” But in the depths of her post trauma reaction she also discovers strength within herself. She draws on the power of music and her own creativity long before she is ready for talk therapy and all that comes with it.
The violence is all off stage. Tracy’s feelings are front and center. Her growth is realistic and hopeful. This is a good book.