FICTION
Unleaving
304p. Feiwel & Friends. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250132819.
COPY ISBN
Gr 10 Up—After surviving rape, instead of beginning her sophomore year, Maggie chooses to leave her college town, the same town where she grew up. In her determined search for justice, six members of the college football team are expelled, angering fans and turning Maggie into the town pariah. Suffering from insomnia, flashbacks, and panic attacks, she hopes for refuge at her aunt's remote lakefront cabin. But she is not the only one looking for recovery. Maggie finds herself embroiled in the dysfunctional family relationships of her aunt's young assistant; his girlfriend, who is bipolar; and their five-year-old daughter, as well as the festering family secret that has kept Maggie's aunt and mother at odds for their entire adult lives. There is also the mysterious rape survivor who is trying to reach out to Maggie for help. Overwhelmed, Maggie searches in vain for escape, hiding out in her bedroom seeking elusive sleep, until she finally realizes that running away was never a viable option. Maggie's story feels diminished amid other characters' more immediate and compelling situations. While acknowledging the difficulty of surviving rape, Ostrom attempts to provide a glimmer of hope for reclaiming dignity and personal power, but readers must wade through a plethora of individual tragedies to get to that point.
VERDICT There are more focused books for teens about surviving sexual assault and navigating rape culture that make for better options.

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