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According to the Centers for Disease Control, a 2011 survey of teens found that 9.4% of teens reported having been in a romantic relationship that resulted in them being hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose in the last twelve months.Sit with that a minute: in the last year, almost 10% of teens reported having been in a relationship that involved violence.Bitter End by Jennifer Brown: When seventeen-year-old Alex starts dating Cole, a new boy at her high school, her two closest friends increasingly mistrust him as the relationship grows more serious.Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf: Allie is overwhelmed when her boyfriend, Trip, dies in a car accident, leaving her scarred and unable to recall what happened that night, but she feels she must uncover the truth, even if it could hurt the people who tried to save her from Trip’s abuse.But I think knowing about them, talking about them, and having them available for teens can be invaluable in fostering important conversations, if not for helping a teen in one of these situations realize what’s going on is not okay.
Despite what we can think as adults, teens are aware of these issues and not only are they aware of them, they’re not afraid to talk about them.
Select Resources Last April, I wrote a guide to discussing sex, sexual assault, and rape, so I won’t go too much into that here.
But I do want to point to a project being built by Teen Librarian Toolbox, called the Sexual Violence in Young Adult Literature Chat.
Since my knowledge is heavier on realistic fiction, that’s reflected, but I am aware dating violence shows up in other genres within YA fiction, as well.
Bad Boy by Dream Jones: Devastated to find herself back in a group home after a peaceful year of living with loving foster parents, a Brooklyn teenager striving to become strong and independent soon falls prey to the dangerous affections of a good looking but shady young man.