Professional Connections: Resources for Teachers and Librarians
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Professional Connections:
Resources for Teachers and Librarians
Kate Quealy-Gainer, Assistant Editor

Dennison, Robyn. “‘Who are you doing this for?’ Narrating Sexual Violence in Kirsty Eagar’s Raw Blue.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 42, no. 3 (2017): 308–325.

Hubler, Angela E. “It Is Not Enough to Speak: Toward a Coalitional Consciousness in the Young Adult Rape Novel.” Children’s Literature 45 (2017): 114–137.

Hubler and Dennison separately examine representation of rape in young adult literature, focusing on how the use of first-person narration can create an intimate experience with the reader but also presents problematic issues in representation. Dennison interrogates the way first-person narration in Anderson’s Speak (1999) and Luna’s Brave New Girl (2001) adheres to a linear trajectory that makes the act of confession to a sympathetic, often adult, character the signifier that the protagonist has moved from a body assaulted (Victim) to a body empowered (Survivor). In contrast, she argues that nonlinear narration of Raw Blue (2012) and the tendency of Carly, the main character, to address herself rather than the reader allows for a truer representation of the assault experience “that cannot be reduced to a single event of violation or to a completed journey of recovery.” Hubler in turn posits that the first-person narration often fails to contextualize rape as symptomatic of a larger rape culture and limits the ways in which assault is represented in YA, particularly when it comes to women of color, economically disadvantaged women, and LGBTQ people. She too examines Speak along with twenty-four other books published within the last forty years regarding sexual assault, and she ultimately concludes that while books that emphasize the act of speaking about rape in first person are critically important, more books that explore the culture and community that lead to rape must also be written and considered. Together the two articles represent a deep dive into the difficulties of narrating these traumatic experiences and the challenges of finding a range of voices.

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