4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · Young Adult

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han | #BookReview #TATBILB #LaraJean

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P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

Rating: 4.5 

Published: May 26, 2015

Publisher: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers

Pages: 337 

Genres: contemporary romance, contemporary fiction, young adult 

Recommend to fans of: the first book of the series, sweet fun young adult romance novels, baking cookies, the movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

 

Synopsis:

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing.

 

Review:

Like:

  • The romance that the other family members are experiencing 
  • Day to day life at the Covey household
  • Sweet, sappy but realistic romance that will remind you of high school

Love: 

  • Cute, fun sweet feel good book
  • Low intensity read that’s great to read during a stressful time in life – a great getaway in a book
  • The Song girl’s relationship – basically the best part of the book, in my opinion
  • All the delicious baking with the Song girls 
  • Lara Jean’s time spent volunteering in a nursing home – allows her to put her whimsical party planning skills to good use and Stormy (a resident) is a hoot!

Dislike: 

  • Some of the illness of the dating and jealous, but that’s typical of teenagers. To be fair, this book contained far less drama than most other young adult novels. 
  • the continual drama between Lara Jean and Genevieve 
  • Not as much of a fan of Chris in this book, because her pessimism gets old after awhile 

Wish that: 

  • The next movie was already made, so I could watch in immediately!
  • there was more of the Song girls together 
  • I wasn’t so confused between the Covey/Song girls – I don’t know why this confuses me … don’t be mad at me for not knowing this 

Overall, another great book in the series. I didn’t enjoy P.S. I Still Love You as much as the first book, but you can bet I’m going to read the next one in the series! In P.S. I Still Love You we get even more of Lara Jean’s iconic baking, optimistic innocent romance, Kitty’s sarcastic meddling and so much more drama. 

 

How many of you have read this book, or any of them in the series? 

And the real question is . . . are you a Margot, Lara Jean, or Kitty? 

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · mystery · thriller

Whisper Network by Chandler Baker | ARC #BookReview #MeToo

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Whisper Network by Chandler Baker

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Published: July 2, 2019 

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Pages: 352 

Genres: mystery, thriller, contemporary fiction 

Recommend to fans of: office drama, modern day feminist issues, MeToo movement, issues relating to sexism and feminism in the workplace 

 

Synopsis:

Four women learn their boss (a man who’s always been surrounded by rumors about how he treats women) is next in line to be CEO—what will happen when they decide enough is enough?

Sloane, Ardie, Grace, and Rosalita are four women who have worked at Truviv, Inc., for years. The sudden death of Truviv’s CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Ames is a complicated man, a man they’ve all known for a long time, a man who’s always been surrounded by…whispers. Whispers that have always been ignored by those in charge. But the world has changed, and the women are watching Ames’s latest promotion differently. This time, they’ve decided enough is enough. 

Sloane and her colleagues set in motion a catastrophic shift within every floor and department of the Truviv offices. All four women’s lives—as women, colleagues, mothers, wives, friends, even adversaries—will change dramatically as a result.

“If only you had listened to us,” they tell us on page one, “none of this would have happened.”

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Flatiron Books and Chandler Baker for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like:

  • Lots of background info and a good lead to the drama 
  • Different outlooks from different women – the accusers and the man’s wife 
  • People will have strong reactions to the book’s topics, which is great to get a discussion going 
  • Perfect for book clubs – in person or online!
  • Behind the scenes look at an investigation into sexual harassment claims 
  • Real life modern day work place issues – relatable to so many

Love: 

  • More books are discussing this topic: sexual harassment in the workplace. Men can’t get away with inappropriate behavior and the imbalance of power anymore 
  • A #MeToo topic book!
  • The camaraderie of the women in the workplace without being overbearing and anti men. The story feels very balanced and shows the perspectives of different people and different genders 
  • Several mentions of breast feeding in a positive manner. We don’t see this enough in books!
  • Really enjoyable to read; great pacing, wonderful writing, seamless plot transitions

Dislike:

  • Lots of information, but reads as a slow pace book at times – mainly during the beginning. It does level out to a much better pace about 25% of the way in. 
  • Not a dislike for me, but possibly for other people. Lots of discussions of sexual harassment, suicide, and legal issues involving these topics. 

Wish that: 

  • Captured my attention more (in the first half). It’s interesting, but with this topic feel like it could do so much more.
  • I related to the women more at the beginning of the story, since the discussion was from the POV of the accused’s wife

 

Overall, a wonderful book about modern day women in the workplace. Many issues were brought up in the context of the story. I think a lot of people will relate to and enjoy this novel. For awhile I wasn’t sure if I wanted to request an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley, but I’m so glad that I did. Definitely recommend! 

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · memoir · non fiction · Sports

Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic #Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines | ARC #BookReview

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Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture by Rachel Haines

Published: April 12, 2019

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 

Pages: 144 

Genres: non fiction, memoir, sports

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: gymnastics, women speaking out, learning more about the culture of abuse, strong women 

Foodie Vibes: oooh, that’s a tough one when it comes to gymnastics – ideally it should be a healthy mix of lean protein, complex carbs and lots of vegetables, but in reality it’s probably a lot of disordered eating 

 

Synopsis:

Two-year-old Rachel Haines didn’t know that she would be committing to twenty-one years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance as she jumped into the foam pit during her first “mommy and me” gymnastics class. She had no idea that one day she would become a two-time National Team Member, two-time National Champion, and a Division I college gymnast at the University of Minnesota. Nor could she have known that she had just signed herself up for serious injury, emotional distress, and continuous sexual assault by world-renowned trainer turned serial molester, Larry Nassar.

In Abused: Surviving Sexual Assault and a Toxic Gymnastics Culture, Rachel details her experiences as a competitive gymnast and the painful realities of being one of Nassar’s many victims. With honesty and candidness, Rachel shares how the sport she loved that gave her so much—friendships, accomplishments, a college education—is also tangled in a dangerously toxic culture that needs to be fixed. In a world that was setting her up for a lifetime of recovery, she tells how faith, family, and an army of survivors made healing possible.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, and Rachel Haines for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like:

  • She was able to speak her truth and current perspective of John Geddert. She enjoyed having him as a coach. Many other people have spoken out against his abusive coaching techniques, which I absolutely believe. But the problems of the sport of gymnastics are not one sided, so its good that everyone can tell their story. 
  • Hearing her perspective of the story (her’s only), not just what we were getting from the media
  • I can see this being the first of many books written, by different authors, about the same subject. Finally the world is getting a more complete view of gymnastics – the good and the bad.

Love: 

  • She’s using her voice to tell her story and speak out against the abuse and toxic culture of the sport.
  • Discusses the abuse without being unnecessarily overly graphic, IMO
  • Discusses the abusive culture of gymnastics as a whole, because it’s not just one person’s bad actions 

Dislike:

  • The culture of abuse (physical, emotional, and sexual) that’s been allowed throughout the sport of gymnastics, because of the people in charge not putting athlete safety and well being first 

Wish that:

  • It was a bit longer. The content is great and the perfect length, but I would have liked to hear more about the sport as a whole and the culture of abuse across multiple gyms. Maybe that’s for another book and I would absolutely read that too.

Overall, a very necessary book about the current culture within the sport of gymnastics. A great read about a difficult topic. I think everyone needs to read Rachel’s story, especially anyone currently or ever involved in the sport. 

 

How many of you did gymnastics as a kid?

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · Young Adult

ARC Review | Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell

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Just for Clicks by Kara McDowell 

Published: February 19, 2019

Publisher: Amberjack

Pages: 337

Genres: young adult, contemporary fiction, contemporary romance

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: books about bloggers and the internet life, fun but serious young adult novels, mother daughter dynamics

Foodie Vibes: candy corn and a Halloween movie to watch with your not yet boyfriend 

 

Synopsis: 

Mommy blogs are great . . . unless the blog happens to belong to your mom.

Twin sisters Claire & Poppy are accidental social media stars thanks to Mom going viral when they were babies. Now, as teens, they’re expected to contribute by building their own brand. Attending a NY fashion week and receiving fan mail is a blast. Fending off internet trolls and would-be kidnappers? Not so much. Poppy embraces it. Claire hates it. Will anybody accept her as “just Claire”? And what should Claire do about Mom’s old journals? The handwritten entries definitely don’t sound like Mom’s perfect blog persona. Worse, one of them divulges a secret that leaves Claire wondering what else in her life might be nothing but a sham . . .

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Amberjack, and Kara McDowell for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Just for Clicks centers around Claire, Poppy – her twin sister, and their mother. Since they were little girls Claire and Poppy have been vlogging, blogging and doing all sorts of paid sponsorships for their mom’s online brand. The blog started as a way for their mom to share their family moments with friends and also allowed her to support herself and her family after her husband passed away. 

I like that the book explores how a well intentioned start can spiral a bit out of control if one doesn’t stop to reevaluate their life choices every so often. Also the contrast between Claire not enjoying the Internet fandom and Poppy loving it, allows for an interesting multifaceted look at the internet life a s career. Neither twin is wrong, just different. It’s nice to see that there’s not the good twin, bad twin dynamic going on. I also appreciated that communication played a big role in the story. Watching the characters learn how to communicate their needs to others was wonderful. And some of the revelations … let’s just say, it keeps things interesting!

There were very few moments that I didn’t enjoy. If I’m being very critical, then some of the miscommunications or non communications became almost annoying after awhile. 

But overall, I really enjoyed this fun upbeat look into the behind the scenes world of internet fame as a career. Complex relationships, relatable struggles and a whole lot of fun. Definitely recommend!

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mystery · psychological thriller · Supernatural · thriller

The Burning Island by Hester Young | New Release

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The Burning Island by Hester Young 

Published: January 22, 2019

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 416

Genres: thriller, mystery, psychological thriller, supernatural

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: heartfelt psychological thrillers, twin stories, family drama, multi layered stories, mysteries with a bit of supernatural elements 

Foodie Vibes: local food for your Hawaiian vacation 

 

Synopsis: 

When her work on a high-profile missing child case exposes her fragile secret to the world, Charlie Cates is forced to flee the spotlight.

On Hawai’i’s Big Island, Charlie can escape the past whilst gazing out at breath-taking sunsets and sparkling sea.

But in spite of its beauty the island is harbouring a dark secret of its own, and people who will do anything to protect it.

The more enchanted Charlie becomes by the island’s mysteries, the bigger the theat she poses to its tranquillity. And the closer Charlie gets to uncovering the truth, the less likely it seems that she will ever leave the island alive…

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, and Hester Young for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like:

  • The premise: woman who dreams about/get vibes from people who are in danger, missing or dead
  • The supernatural/psychic elements are just enough to allow the story to happen, while still keeping the genre as mystery/psychological thriller
  • Find my Phone App playing a vital role in the investigation 

Love:

  • Slow burn mystery that ramps up at the perfect time 
  • The main character’s friend, Rae: bold, supportive, kind, encouraging
  • The setting of Hawaii … need I say more? But it’s obvious the author is familiar with the area
  • The mystery, search for a missing girl, ends up being so much better than I thought
  • The revelations at the last 1/3 of the story … OMG!

Dislike:

  • Seriously messed up families —> But that’s also what makes the book great in a messed up kind of way

Wish that:

  • There’s another book in the series, preferably a sequel to this story 
  • Learned more about the owners of the B&B
  • We could learn what happens to the cultish family’s kids in the future 

 

Overall, a wonderful mystery that’s written perfectly. A slow burn suspense that packs a big punch at the end. Definitely worth the read!

 

Bookish Question:

Is that book on your TBR list?

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · mental health · Young Adult

Roam by C.H. Armstrong | ARC Book Review

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Roam by C.H. Armstrong

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Central Avenue Publishing

Pages: 320 

Genres: young adult, contemporary fiction, mental health 

Rating: 4.5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: realistic issues facing teens today, likable main characters, feel good books about difficult issues

Foodie Vibes: free breakfast and lunch served by the high school, so you don’t go hungry 

 

Synopsis: 

Seventeen year-old Abby Lunde and her family are living on the streets. They had a normal life back in Omaha, but thanks to her mother’s awful mistake, they had to leave what little they had behind for a new start in Rochester. Abby tries to be an average teenager—fitting into school, buoyed by dreams of a boyfriend, college, and a career in music. But Minnesota winters are unforgiving, and so are many teenagers.

Her stepdad promises to put a roof over their heads, but times are tough for everyone and Abby is doing everything she can to keep her shameful secret from her new friends. The divide between rich and poor in high school is painfully obvious, and the stress of never knowing where they’re sleeping or where they’ll find their next meal is taking its toll on the whole family.

As secrets are exposed and the hope for a home fades, Abby knows she must trust those around her to help. But will her friends let her down the same way they did back home, or will they rise to the challenge to help them find a normal life?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Central Avenue Publishing, and C.H. Armstrong for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like:

  • The family relationships: meaningful, realistic, but tense at times
  • Abby is a great character: kind, relatable, hard working

Love: 

  • Highlights the resources available to people struggling with lack of housing, food, money, clothing, etc. 
  • The overall concept: a homeless teenager navigating life, high school, family, friends and her future as normally as possible
  • Great representation of an underrepresented population
  • Abby’s relationship with her friends and boyfriend
  • The teachers and other adults looking out for her in a non judgmental, discrete manner #TeacherGoals
  • A realistic look at the day in the life of a person dealing with the struggles of being homeless

Dislike:

  • The character of Trish: mean girl/bully to many people

Wish that:

  • The premise of them becoming homeless made more sense. It’s sort of explained at the end, but there were still a few loose ends. 
  • The ending was done better- wrapped up the story a little too quickly and neatly

 

Overall, an absolutely captivating read about an under discussed topic. A book that should be in the curriculum of many high school English and humanity classes. 

 

Bookish Question: 

How can you help those in need in your community? 

Is there a place to donate food, clothes or other necessary supplies? 

 

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4.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary romance · romance · Sports Fiction

A Season to Dance by Rebecca Heflin

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A Season to Dance by Rebecca Heflin

Published: December 13, 2018

Publisher: Rebecca Heflin Books, LLC

Pages: 336

Genres: romance, contemporary romance, sports

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: the ballet world, sweet and steamy contemporary romance 

Foodie Vibes: dark roast coffee and chocolate croissants from the local shop – a wonderful indulgence among old friends 

 

Synopsis: 

Olivia James and Zach Ryder were high school sweethearts, but at age eighteen, she left small-town Georgia for the bright lights and satin pointe shoes of Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet. Seventeen years later, Olivia’s come home for her mother’s funeral, nursing an injury that could likely end her meteoric dance career. Being back home stirs up old heartache, and seeing Zach again is not on her to-do list. Her best bet is get in, get out—a week at most. Then she’ll return to Chicago to rehabilitate her injury and salvage her career. But best laid plans often go astray . . .

Zach has never really recovered from Olivia’s departure, even though he always knew she was destined for fame, while he was destined for small-town life. Now Olivia’s back and he’s determined to protect his heart. But when he learns she’s staying in town longer than originally planned, Zach knows they are going to have to face the past to move on. He’s just not prepared for the beautiful woman she’s become or the effect she still has on his heart.

Small towns being what they are, Zach and Olivia are constantly thrown into one another’s paths, and it soon becomes apparent they still love each other. Will they give in to their rekindled desire and seize a second chance at happiness?

 

Review:

I won this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Rebecca Heflin and the publisher for the ebook. As always, an honest review from me. 

A Season to Dance is a sweet & steamy second chance romance set in a small but successful southern town. Olivia is a prima ballerina on break from her career of elite ballets, magazine deals and worldwide performances. Months before she tore her achilles tendon and is now currently rehabbing her injury. The uncertainty over her future in ballet makes for some great tension and lots of soul searching throughout the book. To help her along on her journey is her late Mom’s wife, high school boyfriend, and used to be enemy but now close friend. 

I liked that there weren’t many hard feelings between the characters who had conflict. They realized their hurt feelings were due to miscommunication instead of hate, and resolved their disagreements like adults. The growth in their relationships was wonderful. While the friendships are great, this is a romance novel after all. The romance was sweet and steamy, just how I like it. It’s not overly raunchy, but there’s definitely enough adult content to keep romance lovers entertained. The romance is like a good dark chocolate – rich, deep, sweet but with substance. Also the ballet world setting is perfection. The author has included enough ballet terms to make you feel as if you’re transported to the world of dance, but not so much that the non dancer will be confused. There’s also a glossary of dance terms at the end in case you want to reference it. 

There were very few moments that I didn’t enjoy. Actually nothing. There were a few minor storylines that didn’t add much to the book, but other than that it’s all good.

Overall, A Season to Dance is a perfect feel good romance novel for a day when you need a pick me up. I highly recommend. I really hope there is a sequel to the book. 

 

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Bookish Question:

How many of you took dance class as a child? Which types of dance? 

 

I danced for 16 years including tap, ballet, pointe, flamenco, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary.

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Domestic Fiction · mystery · psychological thriller · suspense

Her One Mistakes by Heidi Perks | New Release

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Her One Mistake by Heidi Perks

Published: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Gallery Books

Pages: 320

Genres: mystery, suspense, psychological thriller, domestic fiction

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: great psychological thrillers, characters that you root for

Foodie Vibes: ice cream that your husband tricks your daughter into believing that she doesn’t want 

 

Synopsis: 

It all started at the school fair…

Charlotte was supposed to be looking after the children, and she swears she was. She only took her eyes off of them for one second. But when her three kids are all safe and sound at the school fair, and Alice, her best friend Harriet’s daughter, is nowhere to be found, Charlotte panics. Frantically searching everywhere, Charlotte knows she must find the courage to tell Harriet that her beloved only child is missing. And admit that she has only herself to blame.

Harriet, devastated by this unthinkable, unbearable loss, can no longer bring herself to speak to Charlotte again, much less trust her. Now more isolated than ever and struggling to keep her marriage afloat, Harriet believes nothing and no one. But as the police bear down on both women trying to piece together the puzzle of what happened to this little girl, dark secrets begin to surface—and Harriet discovers that confiding in Charlotte again may be the only thing that will reunite her with her daughter….

This breathless and fast-paced debut—perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and The Couple Next Door—takes you on a chilling journey that will keep you guessing until the very last page.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery Books, and Heidi Perks for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review. Sorry about the late review on this ARC. A migraine prevented me from getting the reading done.

Lately the thrillers I’ve been reading have been exceptional. Her One Mistake can be added to that list. The book takes us through the horror of losing a child. The palpable fear is so intense, it’s almost indescribable. The author crafted a complex mystery that’s slowly revealed in perfect timing. The mysteries upon mysteries make for a book that I absolutely couldn’t put down. I think I read it in less than 2 days. 

I also like that the concept of gaslighting is featured. It’s not called as such, but it’s well done. The tension and suspense is perfect. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy a book about a child being kidnapped, or if it would be too typical. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the complexity, surprise and characters. A wonderful psychological thriller that I highly recommend. 

 

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Bookish Question:

What makes a psychological thriller great, for you?

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · mental health · non fiction · psychology · Self Help

ARC Review | Are u ok?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health by Kati Morton 

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Are u ok?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health by Kati Morton

Published: December 11, 2018

Publisher: De Capo Lifelong Books 

Pages: 256

Genres: non fiction, mental health, psychology, self help

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: improving yourself. greater access to mental health services, compassionate professionals

Foodie Vibes: healthy foods, for your specific health needs, that fuels your mind and body 

 

Synopsis:

A licensed marriage and family therapist and You Tube personality, Kati Morton answers the most commonly asked questions about mental health, including when to get help and where to find it.

Everyone struggles with mental health issues from time to time, but the greatest level of misunderstanding comes from knowing the difference between mental health and mental illness, figuring out whether we need professional help and, if so, how to find it. Are u ok? walks readers through the most commonly asked questions about mental health and the process of getting help. From finding the best therapist to navigating harmful and toxic relationships and everything in between, licensed marriage and family therapist and YouTube sensation Kati Morton clarifies and de-stigmatizes the struggles so many of us go through, and encourages readers to reach out for help. What are the red flags of a mental health issue? How do you go about making a first therapy appointment? How do you know if your therapist is a good fit for you? What are the best ways of talking about mental health with your family, friends and colleagues? There are so many questions and concerns, and in the down-to-earth, friendly tone that makes Kati Morton so popular on YouTube, Are u ok? informs and reminds us that we can get through the difficult times and we are never alone.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, De Capo Lifelong Books, and Kati Morton for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Are u okay? is a comprehensive easy to understand book about the therapy process. The text includes information about what it is, explanations of acronyms, types of therapy, different professionals, what to expect with the actual therapy session, navigating insurance & payment, advocating for yourself and more. There’s even a quick bullet point summary of the vital information in the appendix. It’s a very approachable read. It’s great for someone who doesn’t know much about the therapy process or those looking to learn more about mental health. People who are familiar with therapy can still learn from the book, but some topics will already be known to them. 

I liked the writing style. It’s factual but informal to make those unsure about the therapy process feel comfortable. Also if you’ve watched Kati Morton’s videos on YouTube, her unique voice definitely carries over into her book. However, I can see where some people, possibly the older generation, might not be as comfortable with this more casual tone. 

Overall, I think there’s a lot of great information that can help a lot of people. Everyone can learn something from her book. A wonderful resource for people who are considering therapy or know someone considering therapy. 

Also definitely check out her YouTube channel for all things mental health. 

 

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Kati Morton’s YouTube Channel 

 

 

 

 

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4.5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · feminism · mental health · non fiction · POC

New Release | What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape by Somalia Abdulali

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape by Sohaila Abdulali

Published: November 27, 2018

Publisher: The New Press

Pages: 224

Genres: non fiction, feminism, POC

Rating: 4.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: learning more about rape culture, validation for survivors of sexual assault a continuation of the Me Too Movement 

Foodie Vibes: whatever food you want because it’s your body

 

Synopsis:

Sohaila Abdulali was gang-raped as a seventeen-year-old in Mumbai. Indignant at the silence on the issue in India, she wrote an article for an Indian women’s magazine questioning how we perceive rape and rape victims. Thirty years later her story went viral in the wake of the 2012 fatal gang rape in Delhi and the global outcry that followed. In 2013, Abdulali published an op-ed in the New York Times called “After Being Raped, I Was Wounded; My Honor Wasn’t” that was widely circulated. Now, as the #metoo and #timesup movements blow open the topic of sexual assault and rape, What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is a brilliant and entirely original contribution to our understanding.

 

Drawing on her own experience, her research, her work with hundreds of survivors as the head of a rape crisis center in Boston, and three decades of grappling with the issue as a feminist intellectual and writer, Abdulali examines the contemporary discourse about rape and rape culture, questioning our assumptions and asking how we want to raise the next generation. She interviews survivors whose moving personal stories of hard-won strength, humor, and wisdom collectively tell the larger story of how societies may begin to heal.

 

Abdulali also explores what we don’t say. Is rape always a life-defining event? Does rape always symbolize something? Is rape worse than death? Is rape related to desire? Who gets raped? Is rape inevitable? Is one rape worse than another? How does one recover a sense of safety and joy? How do we raise sons? Is a world without rape possible?

Both deeply personal and meticulously researched, What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is a rallying cry and required reading for us all.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, The New Press and Sohaila Abdulali for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always an honest review from me.

What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape is a book we need to be talking about more. When the author started talking about rape in India, few people were discussing the topic. Now more people are, especially with the #MeToo Movement. But culturally there’s still more to be done. This book helps explain many of these concepts. Most people know and believe that rape is bad. It gets ambiguous for some people when it comes to the actual definition of rape, consent and micro agressions, rape culture and its contributions to actual assaults, sexual harassment and more. It’s shocking to me, but not completely surprising, that many people don’t understand these nuances. 

I like that the author educates the reader about the nuances of rape culture. It doesn’t come across as preachy, but more like “here’s some information that you might not know. Let me share it with you.” I think most people could learn something , if not a lot of extremely important information. 

The only negative aspect of the book is that it could be a trigger for some people. So read with caution and please take care of yourself.

Overall, another extremely relevant book to continue on with the discussion of the #MeToo conversation. Give it a read, and let’s start talking!

 

When was the last time you talked about sexual assault? Was it formal, informal? How did the conversation go?

 

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