Girl Made of Stars
By Ashley Herring Blake
Published May 15, 2018 by HMH Books for Young Readers
“This. This is why I never said anything. Because no one ever believes the girl.”
Girl Made of Stars is an important book. It’s a searing look at rape culture in high school that is a quick read, but not an easy one.
Mara McHale is a feminist. She’s an out and proud bi girl, and she’s the founder of a group at her school that empowers young women. She and her twin brother Owen as close as two peas in a pod. She recently broke up with her girlfriend Charlie, and since she and Charlie were best friends before they were a couple, Mara is struggling with their post-breakup relationship.
Then Mara’s close friend Hannah accuses Owen of raping her. Owen and Hannah were dating, and she says he raped her at a party, while Owen claims they had consensual sex. Mara is caught in the middle. She believes her friend, but she also loves her brother and doesn’t want to believe he could be capable of rape. But she was at the party where it happened, and she saw how drunk he was.
“I can’t believe it,” I say to Charlie, locked-up tears strangling my voice. “I physically can’t. How can I believe either one of them? How can I not believe them?”
Sadly (and all too predictably), people are awful to Hannah because she’s accused a popular, good-looking boy of rape. On her return to school, she’s greeted with a chorus of “Hey, slut, welcome back.” Mara’s mother insists that it’s all just a “misunderstanding.” Mara’s confusion and distress feel very realistic, especially as it becomes clear that she’s got a secret that she’s been keeping for years that’s she’s now being forced to face.
This book is beautiful and moving. It’s also enraging, because there are no easy answers and no simple happy ending, but it shows that there can be healing and a chance of moving on, and the book does give some hope for the characters’ futures.
I received an ARC from Amazon Vine.