Realistic Portrayal of Trauma
Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake is a realistic portrayal of how people react to learning about the rape of a classmate. Lately, I’ve been seeking realistic fiction dealing with teen trauma and the effect it has not only on the direct victims but on the people who love them as well. While this novel was published a few years back, I only recently found it.
Mara narrates the story of her twin brother, Owen, being accused of rape by his girlfriend, who also happened to be one of Mara’s best friends. She wonders how it is possible that her beloved brother could do such a thing, but feels the truth of Hannah’s story. She wishes she could work through it with her ex-girlfriend, Charlie, who seems to have moved on to another relationship.
Keeping Secrets and Telling Truths
Compounding her feelings is Mara’s own trauma from an experience she has kept a secret and the fact that her mom, who is proud of her feminism and activism, automatically assumes that Hannah has made some sort of mistake in saying that Owen raped her.
Students at the high school line up in Team Hannah or Team Owen. Hannah is the victim of slut shaming when she returns to classes. Everyone has to confront questions of sexual assault, consent, victim blaming, and betrayal by trusted adults.
Still, Girl Made of Stars ends hopefully. And hope is another thing I’m seeking in realistic YA fiction.
High School Housekeeping: Girl Made of Stars is a good book for high school students. The characters work through honest discussions of difficult topics. That’s something that teens need.