Saturday, October 31, 2015

Compromised: Santa; by Nicola Mar

"I'm so--so sorry, June. I shouldn't have left you," Alice cries. She is hugging me and I push her away.

Only a few bruises have become visible. "How could they do this, June?" Alice cries with me. But these are not questions that can be answered.

"You must tell the police," she demands. "I can't let you ignore this."

"No, Alice, promise me you won't do anything," I beg. "Please. If this gets out, I might as well kill myself. My life will be over."

She shakes her head. "Why would you want to let them get away with this? How many other girls do you think there have been? They will do this again if you don't say something."

I know she's right, but the only person I can think about is Mama.

June knows she is lucky to have a popular friend like Alice. Overweight, shy, and virtually invisible in her high school, June agrees to sneak out for a late-night party with Alice.

At first it is fun. A couple of drinks and some banter with the crowd in the kitchen make her feel less self-conscious, one of the group. But as the alcohol takes effect, June begins to feel nauseated and disoriented. She looks around for Alice, but someone tells her she's left, and she suddenly feels terribly alone.

Feeling she's going to throw up, June frantically looks for a bathroom in the strange house, and finding it, she rushes inside. The toilet is almost overflowing, and June leans against the wall and sinks to the floor. The next thing she remembers is being sexually assaulted by some of the football players, boys she scarcely knows.

When she comes to, her face in the filthy floor, June only thinks of escape. She stumbles out of the house and walks home, managing to get into her house without waking her mother . But the worst is yet to come. One of the boys has taken photographs of her lying unconscious on the bathroom floor and begins to post them on the internet. Soon quiet, studious June finds herself a pariah, beginning a downward spiral which leads to attempts at suicide.

It is a old, familiar story, one as old as mankind, yet repeated with each new generation, and in her novel Santa; author Nicola Mar spares none of the wrenching details of this experience nor its aftermath, the shame and depression that lead June to two suicide attempts. The author's narration of June's attack and the desperate days afterward is strong, honest, and affecting, although many readers will be disappointed in her contrived, deus ex machina conclusion, filled with dream sequences populated by bright lights, an angel named Santa, and... yes, a rainbow. Still, forewarned is forearmed, and Mar's novel may well serve as a cautionary tale for young adult readers--beware, and be there for each other.

A portion of the proceeds of this book are directed to Mar's organization, Project Semicolon.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home