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Booklist: Nonfiction, Memoirs, and Resources on Teen Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Rape

February in Teen Dating Violence Prevention month. On the YALSAblog, you can read about the need for programming that addresses this problem as well as strategies for working with community partners to tackle the issue. In addition to highlighting fiction that tackles tough subjects like sexual assault, rape, and dating violence, these are some nonfiction titles that focus on the subject. These can supplement programs and community resources to provide teens with the information they need to prevent violent relationships and build healthy ones.

unhealthy teen relationships prevention resources
CC image via UN Women

Nonfiction and Memoirs

UnSlut: A Diary and a Memoir by Emily Linden
A recent publication, this book juxtaposes Emily’s diary as an eleven-year-old who is branded a slut with commentary from her perspective as an adult.

Tornado Warning: A Memoir of Teen Dating Violence and Its Effect On A Woman’s Life by Elin Stebbins Walda
The author recounts her personal experiences with an abusive romantic relationship during her teen years.

Lucky by Alice Sebold
While harrowing to read, this memoir about the aftermath of being raped at eighteen and the subsequent investigation and prosecution of her attacker is full of wit and candor. Sebold speaks frankly about her subsequent drug abuse and mental illness.

In Love and in Danger: a Teen’s Guide to Breaking Free of Abusive Relationships by Barrie Levy
This is a resource that recounts the experiences of teens who have been in abusive relationships as well as offering strategies for breaking the cycle of abuse and developing healthy relationships.

Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer
A searing indictment of rape culture, this book follows Krakauer’s attempt to understand the effects of rape by someone the victim knows as they navigate the criminal justice system in on college town.

Take It as a Compliment by Marian Stoian
This graphic novel is a series of illustrations inspired by her own experience, interviews, and anonymous correspondence with survivors of sexual abuse and assault that expresses the complex emotions survivors experience.

The V Word edited by Amber J. Keyser
This collection of true stories about first sexual experiences from YA authors presents a wide variety of viewpoints.

Asking for It: The Rise of Rape Culture—and What We Can Do About It by Kate Harding
This funny yet informative looks at how rape culture effects women and outlines ways to combat misconceptions about gender and sex roles.

Professional Resources

Programs to Reduce Teen Dating Violence and Sexual Assault: Perspectives on What Works  Arlene N. Weisz and Beverly M. Black
This book will be of interest to anyone who works with teens and is interested in what strategies have been proven to reduce incidents of dating violence, rape, and sexual assault and may inspire program ideas that libraries can implement in conjunction with other agencies and organizations who serve youth.

Sex in the Library: A Guide to Sexual Content in Teen Literature by Mary Jo Heller
With reviews and guides to the content of over 100 young adult novels, as well as information on collection development policies and advocating for this kind of material to administrators, parents, and guardians, this is is a great resource for teen librarians and library workers.

Answering Teens’ Tough Questions: a YALSA Guide by MK Eagle
This guide tackles numerous issues, from bullying to self-harm to sexual abuse, and can guide teen librarians and library workers in navigating these sensitive issues.

Helping Teens Handle Tough Issues: Strategies to Foster Resilience by Jill Nelson
Young adults face a myriad of challenges today, and this guide offers adults who work with teens practical advice for helping teens.

— Molly Wetta, currently reading More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera for The Hub Reading Challenge

2 Comments

  1. Jenny Smith Jenny Smith

    I don’t know if this book will be available in the US, but I would like to recommend –
    Sophie’s legacy : a mother’s story of her family’s loss and their quest for change by Lesley Elliott & Bill O’Brien (Longacre , Dunedin [N.Z.] 2011. ISBN 9781869795962)
    “Sophie Elliott had everything to live for – good looks, intelligence, friends, a loving family, a degree under her belt and a new job at the Treasury in Wellington. And then, the day before she left Dunedin to take up that job, she was brutally stabbed to death in her own home by her former boyfriend, Clayton Weatherston. Weatherston was much older and one of her tutors at the University of Otago. When the public came to take his measure at his high-profile trial in 2009, his narcissistic and manipulative personality stunned the nation. Sophie’s mother, Lesley, has weathered the horror of her daughter’s death, and the gruelling process of a difficult trial, to set up a foundation to help young women identify relationships that put them in harm’s way – as Sophie’s did, unbeknownst to her and her family – and encourage them to seek help.” –Back cover.

    Lesley Elliott now tours the country speaking to groups of young people, especially at high schools.

    • Thanks, Jenny! Anecdotally, we seem to have a lot of readers from New Zealand, so I’m sure they will find it useful.

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