Posts Tagged ‘sexual abuse’

Charm & Strange

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn

Win is a young man who believes with all his heart that one full moon he will turn into a wolf. He yearns for this transformation and comes up with elaborate scientific excuses every month when he doesn’t change. But he believes this next full moon will be different. Someone died in the woods near his prep school last month. Win wonders if he did turn and killed the man and then forgot. And if that is true maybe he will remember the change this upcoming full moon.

But there is a hitch. there is a new girl at school, a transfer student. She doesn’t fit in with the rich prep students. And her and Win keep crossing paths which leads to a wary but mutual friendship. So when the next big party comes up he feels the need to look after her. The party just happens to be on the full moon and in the woods where the man died.  Throughout the evening events occur that make Win remember the past. when he went by is first name, Drew, and he was just nine years old.

What has to happen to a young boy to make him believe he is werewolf? And what happens to a young man who remembers those answers? Charm & Strange is the story of a young man torn in two. And tonight under the full moon he will need to piece himself back together if he can.

Charm & Strange is a wonderful novel that keeps the reader guessing at horrible secrets that make up Win’s childhood, while also hoping for the violent and idiosyncratic young man’s search for liberation and recovery from his past isn’t in vain. This book is recommended for ages 16 and up.

The Waking Dark

Monday, December 9th, 2013

The Waking Dark Book CoverThe Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman

It has been a year since a series of bizarre murders occurred in the small town of Oleander, Kansas. Just out of the blue a few townspeople killed the first people they saw, and then committed suicide. After a year things have gone mostly back to normal. But the witnesses to the murders still rest uneasily.

Unfortunately there is more murder and mayhem on the way for Oleander. Cass Porter, the only original murderer who failed at her suicide attempt, is whisked a way from the building where she has been institutionalized. At the same time a huge tornado forms outside of town and begins to destroy large swaths of the small community.

The next morning the people of Oleander try to recover from the wrath of mother nature. What appears to be the National Guard arrive but instead of helping the put the town under quarantine. The scary thing is that no one really minds that the town, mostly destroyed, is left alone. People have started to act irrationally, and even violent, lately. The only ones who are not affected is Cass, and the other teens who witnessed the year old murders.

Now as the town falls apart around them while madness and violence rise up in its place can these handful of teens survive? Can they discover why this is happening to their town? They need to act quickly because time is running out before the quarantine comes to the final measure of containment; the total annihilation of the town.

The Waking Dark is an homage to Stephen King (specifically Under the Dome or Needful Things). So if you really enjoy his writing style, Robin Wasserman does a fairly decent impersonation. It is an epic, violent story of a town’s self-destruction through the view points of a few teenagers. So there is lots of violence, and threats of sexual assault. I recommend it to interested readers who are 16 or older.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Friday, July 12th, 2013

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The United States has been overthrown by religious zealots. A theocracy now rules the land and enforces a strict moral code that strips away any rights that women have had. They are not allowed to read and forced into a caste system. Then through disease and pollution people are either sterile or produce mutated offspring called Unbabies.

The lowest member of the female caste system is the Handmaid. Handmaids are made up of women from the time before the revolution who have lead a life of sin, had illegitimate children, or who do not agree with the views of the new state. These women are sent to reeducation camps where they are manipulated and abused until they broken and ready to be used for their purpose: to produce offspring for couples of the elite class. The theocracy uses scripture to force these women intosexual servitude. If the Handmaid cannot produce children they are sterilized and sent to the Colonies, places horribly polluted with radiation and toxic waste, and forced to clean up the pollution until they die.

This is the story of Offred, her real name taken away. She now belongs to a household of a Commander and his wife Serena Joy. Each month she must take part in the ceremony, where the Commander tries to impregnate Offred. Offred’s only respite is her daily walks to gather groceries for the home. But even on these walks there are signs of the horrible conditions life takes on. Offred passes by the Wall where bodies of “traitors” are hung on display. Offred also walks with another Handmaiden and at times they secretly whisper. There may be an organization called Mayday that is part of a resistance. With her life on the line can Offred give into the ultimate rebellion that is hope?

The Handmaid’s Tale is a powerful story that any fan of dystopian fiction should read. It is highly recommended and appropriate for ages 16 and up.