Summary: When Val is raped and reports the crime, it completely changes her life. Everybody knows what happened to her, but nobody seems to believe her and the worst moment of her life is suddenly becoming the thing that defines her.
Characters: Val is easy to like. She was a happy, if a bit sheltered, kid who was excited and nervous to do something out of character, throw a party, but she's practically comatose after she gets raped. She's emotionally strung out and confused. It was so easy to feel everything along with her and experience how one event could rewire every single relationship in her life. Sometimes, the changed relationships were obvious, like with her b**** of a "best friend" who walks out on her, but I enjoyed the more subtle changes in her relationships. Val's mother is completely devastated and heartbroken, but she loves her daughter and the tension between them comes from love and not doubt or judgement.
The rapist, Adam, is a nice guy. He's definitely the bad guy, but I appreciated that he isn't a sinister presence. It feels realistic and adds to the confusion Val feels. There is a hint of romance in this book (NOT with the rapist). It is just enough to feel hopeful and any more would have felt out of place, but that love interest... he's great. He can make me coffee any day.
Plot/Pacing: I sat down to read the first few pages, just to see if I even I wanted to read the book. The next thing I new I was 56% through and it was 1am. It's a very short book and it reads fast, but it still moved me the entire way through. I'm hesitant to say I enjoyed it, it is after all about rape, but it definitely works if you're looking for an emotionally resonant book. There is nothing particularly surprising about the plot and Val doesn't make up with the people who abandoned her, but I was okay with that. I think if your best friend takes your rapist's side that you can forgive them, but you're never going to be friends again. The fact that everything wasn't tied up neatly is what made the ending so satisfying.
Moments I Loved: Like all of Val's relationships, things get weird between her and her brother. When she discovers that he blames himself for what happened to her, it was a really touching moment. It made me cry (in public) and it is the first time Val laughs in the book. It was just... a nice moment.
WTF Moments: This book is about rape and how people treat you when you find out you've been raped. It is a whole string of emotionally jarring WTF moments. Some of the worst, for me, were Val's Uncle asking her to move on already because it was killing her mom and Val's friend accusing her of crying rape so she wouldn't get in trouble because of the party. I honestly think both characters meant well, as people often do in real life when they are being most hurtful.
A moment that I HAVE to mention here is when the school principal forces Valerie to sit down and talk with her rapist. He thinks she's lying and that she owes her rapist the opportunity to talk to her. I was furious. I think I actually started cussing out loud... in public. Is that even legal? Can a principal do that without her mom's permission? SO MAD. Although, it did give Val the opportunity to stand up to him, which felt rewarding, the whole process still made my skin crawl.
Overall: A powerful read that ends on a positive note, it answers the questions why do so many rapes go unreported?
Reading Challenges: This book counts toward the following challenges: 126 pages toward the 15,000 page challenge. Track all my progress on my 2012 Challenges page.
**I received an e-galley of Rape Girl from the publisher through NetGalley. I was in no way compensated for my review and all opinions expressed here are my own. Feel free to check out my full FTC Disclaimer on my About This Blog page.**