4 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · coming of age · contemporary fiction · mental health · Young Adult

The Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson | ARC #BookReview #MeToo #IReadYA

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The Art of Breaking Things by Laura Sibson

Rating: 4 stars 

Published: June 18, 2019 

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers 

Pages: 304

Genres: contemporary fiction, young adult, mental health

Recommend to fans of: teenagers exploring difficult topics and phases in life, young women finding their voice, the #MeToo movement 

 

Synopsis:

In the tradition of Laurie Halse Anderson and Sara Zarr, one girl embraces the power of her voice: rules are meant to be broken and she won’t stay silent.

Seventeen-year-old Skye has her sights set on one thing: getting the heck out of Dodge. Art school is her ticket out and she’s already been accepted to her first choice, MICA. All she has to do is survive her senior year, not get too drunk at parties, and be there for her little sister, Emma. Sure, she’s usually battling a hangover when she drives to pick Emma up, but she has everything under control. Until he returns.

When her mom’s ex-boyfriend slithers his way back into her family, it’s all Skye can do to keep the walls of her world from crumbling. Her family has no idea Skye has been guarding a dark secret about her past–about him–and she never thought she would have to face him again. She knows she has to get away from him at all costs. But how can she abandon Emma? Skye’s heart is torn between escaping the man who hurt her years ago and protecting her loved ones from the monster in their midst. Running away from her fears isn’t an option. To save her sister–and herself–she’ll have to break all the rules.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Viking Books for Young Readers, and Laura Sibson for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Trigger warning: sexual abuse of a child 

Like: 

  • The foreshadowing – good, but is about terrible things to come 
  • The main character: Skye
  • Good perspective about college: a way to be who you could be and learn lots about yourself, life and a career
  • The abuse isn’t too graphic or triggering in my opinion
  • Very realistic portrayal of a teenager coming to terms with being sexually abused by her step father and the impact it has on her life 

Love: 

  • Discusses very difficult to talk about topics (sexual abuse) as the character is experiencing them 
  • Art as a way to express oneself in a way that words can’t 

Dislike: 

  • Lots of drugs, drinking and partying – it’s realistic to the character and her situation, but it’s not something that I enjoyed reading about 
  • The teenage boy that she had a relationship with/ didn’t consent to/ doesn’t remember that night — confusing and not sure if I read that scene correctly 
  • Most of the book in some manner, revolves around the main character being sexually abused 

Wish that: 

  • there was more opportunity for her mother to explain, think about, and remember what happened on the day her daughter was sexually abused. The story wraps up rather quickly and doesn’t give much time to explore what happened further. 
  • The story was a little more balanced, in terms of content. 

Overall, a good realistic portrayal of Skye, a teenage girl, coming to terms with being sexually abused by her step father years ago. A definite trigger warning for most of the story revolving around this topic, but it doesn’t get too explicitly graphic. I would have liked a more well balanced story, but in general an important and fairly enjoyable read. 

 

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

The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess | Release Day #BookReview

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The Quiet You Carry by Nikki Barthelmess

Published: March 5, 2019 

Publisher: Flux

Pages: 272

Genres: young adult, contemporary, mental health

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: books about foster care, not too triggering books about sexual abuse, teens dealing with tough challenges 

Foodie Vibes: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch every day, because the state doesn’t pay your foster mom enough money 

 

Synopsis:

Victoria Parker knew her dad’s behavior toward her was a little unusual, but she convinced herself everything was fine—until she found herself locked out of the house at 3:00 a.m., surrounded by flashing police lights.

Now, dumped into a crowded, chaotic foster home, Victoria has to tiptoe around her domineering foster mother, get through senior year at a new school, and somehow salvage her college dreams . . . all while keeping her past hidden.

But some secrets won’t stay buried—especially when unwanted memories make Victoria freeze up at random moments and nightmares disrupt her sleep. Even worse, she can’t stop worrying about her stepsister Sarah, left behind with her father. All she wants is to move forward, but how do you focus on the future when the past won’t leave you alone?

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Flux, and Nikki Barthelmess for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Trigger warning: not too graphic mentions of sexual abuse and incest, suicide attempt, self harm 

Like:

  • We get to see Connie, the foster mom, grow as a person and a character
  • Connie means well and her rules are there for a reason even if they seem unfair 
  • The different characters’ experiences – we get a more well rounded picture of foster care through the parents, step parents, foster parents, other foster kids, step siblings, friends, teachers, and social worker
  • Victoria’s friends
  • Mentions how the stress physically affects different characters

Love:

  • A book about foster kids (both young kids and teens) good representation for an often not talked about set of kids and experiences
  • Victoria (main character) is relatable, hard working without being perfect, willing to change, the kind of girl you’d want to be friends with
  • The adults who look out for Victoria’s well being – shows that there are people out there who care
  • The revelations of how much the dad manipulated the whole family – really important to show how manipulative, deceptive and mean abusers can be, even within their own family

Dislike:

  • The dad and the step mom’s actions/inactions
  • Some parts feel a bit contrived to make the story work, but it could also be extremely realistic

Wish that:

  • The book was longer (I get that shorter reads appeal to a young spectrum of readers, so I understand why.)

Overall, a realistic happily ever after book about foster care challenges and surviving sexual abuse. I can see this book being very important, educational and validating for many teens and pre-teens dealing with similar experiences. 

 

Have you read this book?

What did you think of it?

 

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

A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel |Release Day #BookReview

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A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Sourcefire Books

Pages: 352

Genres: contemporary fiction, young adult, mental health 

Rating: 4 stars 

Recommend to fans of: books about mental health, unreliable narrators 

Foodie Vibes: room temperature, soft food that can’t be a danger to yourself or others in the hospital mental health facility 

 

Synopsis: 

Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She didn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side.

Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Sourcefire Books, and Alyssa Sheinmel for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • Unreliable narrator: Normally, I’m not a fan of unreliable narrators, but in this book I enjoyed it.
  • Your opinion of the main character’s situation changes as you get more information.
  • Shows a fairly realistic portrayal of forced inpatient psychiatric stay

Love:

  • Can really feel her feelings through the writing: the panic, confusion, and desperation is evident
  • Quick read
  • Had to keep reading to find out what happens
  • Book about mental health diagnosis that’s rarely written about
  • The little clues that are left along the way for the reader and Hannah to figure out 

Dislike: 

  • That the staff could be manipulated/bribed by the patients 
  • Her family wasn’t that supportive
  • The circumstances that sent Hannah to the facility 

Wish that: 

  • There’s another book to show how Hannah copes with the real world 
  • Could see the circumstances from Hannah’s doctor’s point of view occasionally 

Overall, a great book about mental health and all the challenges that can come with first being diagnosed. An interesting story that I absolutely flew through. 

 

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Lately there have been lots of books about mental health. 

Do you think the genre/market is saturated yet?

 

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5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Domestic Fiction · Literary Fiction · mental health

The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib | ARC #BookReview

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The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 384

Genres: literary fiction, mental health, domestic fiction 

Rating: 5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: books about eating disorders and mental health, strong women struggling with difficult things

Foodie Vibes: the meal plan set forth by the eating disorder treatment team – designed for weight gain and food challenges

 

Synopsis: 

The chocolate went first, then the cheese, the fries, the ice cream. The bread was more difficult, but if she could just lose a little more weight, perhaps she would make the soloists’ list. Perhaps if she were lighter, danced better, tried harder, she would be good enough. Perhaps if she just ran for one more mile, lost just one more pound.

Anna Roux was a professional dancer who followed the man of her dreams from Paris to Missouri. There, alone with her biggest fears – imperfection, failure, loneliness – she spirals down anorexia and depression till she weighs a mere eighty-eight pounds. Forced to seek treatment, she is admitted as a patient at 17 Swann Street, a peach pink house where pale, fragile women with life-threatening eating disorders live. Women like Emm, the veteran; quiet Valerie; Julia, always hungry. Together, they must fight their diseases and face six meals a day.

Yara Zgheib’s poetic and poignant debut novel is a haunting, intimate journey of a young woman’s struggle to reclaim her life. Every bite causes anxiety. Every flavor induces guilt. And every step Anna takes toward recovery will require strength, endurance, and the support of the girls at 17 Swann Street.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Yara Zgheib for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me.

Like: 

  • Good representation: adults of various ages and stages in life are shown, not just the stereotypical upper middle class teenage girl
  • Each couple of days is punctuated by the staff’s treatment plan update: physiological observations, psychological observations, summary, target calories, meal plans
  • Not a fluffy feel good book, but the realistic ups and downs of getting help for an eating disorder

Love: 

  • The details that go into the world building – In reality it’s only an eating disorder treatment house, but the author makes it seem like a whole different world 
  • The main character: Anna – kind, relatable, vulnerable, courageous
  • The concept and daily life is oddly fascinating — weird?, I know
  • The relationship between Anna and her husband, Matthias
  • Beautifully written

Dislike: 

  • That so many of the characters are missing out on life.
  • Emm: one of the long term patients. It doesn’t seem realistic that she could be at the treatment center for years. Also she didn’t seem to add much to the story, except as one of the many cautionary tales. 

Wish that: 

  • There was more about the psychological aspects of eating disorder treatment such as group therapy, individual therapy, etc.

Overall, a beautifully written book about the brave struggles of a woman working to survive and eating disorder. It’s hard to explain, but there’s something absolutely captivating about this story. 

 

Do you enjoy reading books about characters with a mental illness? 

 

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ARC Book Reviews · Book Reviews · Business · feminism · mental health · non fiction · Self Help

Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani | ARC #BookReview

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Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder by Reshma Saujani

Published: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Currency

Pages: 208

Genres: non fiction, self help, business, feminism 

Rating: 5 stars 

Recommend to fans of: books that inspire you, point out gender stereotypes, strong brave women

Foodie Vibes: chocolate cake – Have your cake and eat it too

 

Synopsis: 

In a book inspired by her popular TED talk, New York Times bestselling author Reshma Saujani empowers women and girls to embrace imperfection and bravery.

Imagine if you lived without the fear of not being good enough. If you didn’t care how your life looked on Instagram, or worry about what total strangers thought of you. Imagine if you could let go of the guilt, and stop beating yourself up for tiny mistakes. What if, in every decision you faced, you took the bolder path?

Too many of us feel crushed under the weight of our own expectations. We run ourselves ragged trying to please everyone, all the time. We lose sleep ruminating about whether we may have offended someone, pass up opportunities that take us out of our comfort zones, and avoid rejection at all costs.

There’s a reason we act this way, Reshma says. As girls, we were taught to play it safe. Well-meaning parents and teachers praised us for being quiet and polite, urged us to be careful so we didn’t get hurt, and steered us to activities at which we could shine.

The problem is that perfect girls grow up to be women who are afraid to fail. It’s time to stop letting our fears drown out our dreams and narrow our world, along with our chance at happiness.

By choosing bravery over perfection, we can find the power to claim our voice, to leave behind what makes us unhappy, and go for the things we genuinely, passionately want. Perfection may set us on a path that feels safe, but bravery leads us to the one we’re authentically meant to follow.

In Brave, Not Perfect, Reshma shares powerful insights and practices to help us override our perfect girl training and make bravery a lifelong habit. By being brave, not perfect, we can all become the authors of our biggest, boldest, and most joyful life.

 

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley, Currency, and Reshma Saujani for an ARC ebook copy to review. As always, an honest review from me. 

Like: 

  • A self help business book for woman without being overly technical or dry
  • She launched Girls Who Code and ran for political office
  • Gives a voice to all the things that so many women experience 

Love:

  • Incredibly relatable 
  • That bravery is a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger your bravery muscle will be
  • The author’s voice/writing style: professional, authoritative, but relatable and kind
  • The message that its okay to not be liked, because those just aren’t your people
  • The quote “In a world full of princesses, dare to be a hot dog.” 

Dislike:

Wish that: 

  • There were a few more practical examples of how to be brave on a day to day basis
  • The book was longer!

Overall,  a very powerful, relatable book that every woman needs to read. Even if you think you’re brave, I think you will find many elements of value in here. A book I’m going to be referencing again and again. 

 

For all the ladies out there,

How can you be brave today?

 

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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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5 Star Books · ARC Book Reviews · Bookish Posts · contemporary fiction · contemporary romance · mental health · Women's Fiction

The Best Book! | ARC Review | The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

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The Girl He Used to Know by Tracey Garvis Graves

Published: April 2, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 304

Genres: contemporary romance, contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, mental health

Rating: 5 stars

Recommend to fans of: books with all the feels, good representation of people on the autism spectrum

Foodie Vibes: cherry wine coolers 

 

Synopsis:

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

 

Review:

I won this book for free through a Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you to Goodreads, Tracey Garvis Graves and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC copy. As always, an honest review from me. 

The book is absolutely amazing! There are not enough words to accurately describe how wonderful the read was, so I’m not even going to try. I will just say this: I’ve never done this before — not given a full in depth review of a book. That’s how special I found The Girl He Used to Know. But take my word for it, read this book! 

 

Do you ever feel like you don’t have the words to explain how amazing a book, movie, feeling is?

4 Star Books · Book Reviews · contemporary fiction · Medical · mental health · Young Adult

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

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Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow 

Published: August 30, 2016

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 416

Genres: young adult, contemporary fiction, mental health 

Rating: 4 stars

Recommend to fans of: realistic portrayals of mental health struggles, homelessness and self harm, realistic non fluffy books

Foodie Vibes: peanut butter and bread — cheap, doesn’t require refrigeration and is filling — required for when times are tough 

 

Synopsis: 

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

 

Review:

Trigger warning: self harm, alcohol abuse, mentions of sexual assault

 

Girl in Pieces tells the story of Charlotte, a teenage girl who struggles with self harm. The book starts out with her hospitalized in a mental health facility. She doesn’t speak to anyone, but is glad to be there. Due to a lack of family support, she was homeless prior to the hospital. 

Girl in Pieces isn’t like many other young adult books featuring self harm. It tells the story of a different subset of teenage girls. I like that it gives a voice and a relatable character where there wasn’t one before. I also appreciated that the author didn’t glorify self harm. The story and Charlotte’s journey is very intense, almost a bit much for me at times. She has lots of ups and downs in her journey along the path to recovery and figuring out her future. It’s very realistic. 

While the representation is great, there are multiple aspects that I didn’t love. #1: her relationship with her boyfriend, for multiple reasons. Also, the fact that no one makes her go to school. No explanation about this either. When Charlotte was not making the best decisions for herself I was very frustrated for her. In general I enjoyed reading about her, but didn’t connect with her character as much as I would have liked. 

Overall, a well written story with great representation of self harm and other mental health struggles in general. The downsides didn’t mean a bad book, but more annoyances/frustrations on my part as a reader. Definitely worth checking out!

 

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How should we react when we see someone who has self harm scars? Discuss below. 

 

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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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