Dear Medusa

Random/Labyrinth Road. Mar. 2023. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593485736.
Gr 10 Up–A heartbreaking story of a high school student struggling in the aftermath of a sexual assault by a beloved teacher. Alicia is about to begin her junior year at Marshall High School, but she’d rather be anywhere else in the world. Between the nasty comments from her classmates, her best friend deserting her, and trying to avoid the hallway where “it” happened, Marshall is not a safe place for Alicia. She often lashes out at teachers and spends much of her time in in-school suspension, and after school she participates in risky behavior with classmates and sometimes older men that she’s just met. But when Alicia finds notes in her locker suggesting there is another victim of The Colonel, she starts to question her life and behavior. Written in verse, this tale is one of a girl finding her way back to herself. Cole’s prose is beautiful, thought-provoking, and filled with emotion. Alicia’s character is complex and secondary characters are also well-developed. This novel is one that readers won’t put down willingly. Alicia is white, her friend Deja is Black, and Alicia’s love interest is from Pakistan. There is some LGBTQIA+ representation, with one character identifying as asexual and Alicia is bisexual.
VERDICT A first purchase for high school libraries.

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