Hermione Winters is captain of her cheer-leading team, and in tiny Palermo Heights, this doesn’t mean what you think it means. At PHHS, the cheerleaders don’t cheer for the sports teams; they are the sports team—the pride and joy of a tiny town. The team’s summer training camp is Hermione’s last and marks the beginning of the end of… she’s not sure what. She does know this season could make her a legend. But during a camp party, someone slips something in her drink. And it all goes black.
I really enjoyed this book for a lot of different reasons: it’s ability to cover such a harsh topic so easily, the nerdiness of the girls (there were a lot of subtle Star Wars references which I loved) and the depiction of the main character, Hermione Winters. When you first meet here, she is immediately likable. She is capable, smart and the best part is she knows it. So often in Young Adult novels, the main character is ‘unaware’ of her beauty, her charm or her intellect and somehow it’s supposed to add to her natural allure. Hermione Winters isn’t like that, she’s fully aware of her qualities and the surety of her character is what gets her through the aftermath of being raped.
Another thing was the diverse set of characters, all who reacted differently to her rape. There are friends who support her, those that spread rumours, and her boyfriend who doesn’t stand up for her. Everyone reacts to her rape in a different but very real way. We’ve all heard of it in real life: those who deny it happening, people who claim that the victim was ‘asking for it’ or people who become uncomfortable with the subject altogether. The media who tries to take advantage of your “story”. And then there are those who support you, that defend you and help you in trying times.
“I didn’t used to overthink my choices quite so much. Then someone made what I’ve always been told is a very important choice for me, and now I tend to overthink everything else.”
One drawback to this story is that Hermione Winters is so obviously a literary device. She is meant to show the reader the realities that rape victims might face: fathers afraid to touch their daughters, being afraid or nervous around male friends, and overthinking simple, everyday actions. It’s not so much a story about a girl named Hermione but a story meant to illustrate life after rape for a young girl.
Another thing is that sometimes the book seems to gloss over Hermione’s emotions. It seems to skip past her “negative” feelings, such as when she’s unsure, scared, or feeling alone. The writer acknowledges those feelings for like a paragraph and then immediately moves on to her overcoming it. This is usually because she realizes she’s stronger than that, or her support network conveniently shows up. It would have been interesting to read more about her low periods before jumping into her moving past those issues.
My Rating: 3/5 Stars.
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