Make a Hard Fist, Tina Shaw
The abuse, stalking, and/or terrorising of young women is something we read about in the news these days with depressing regularity. It's always about the consequences, often of events that were downplayed, covered up or ignored by victims and the authorities. What is it about the way women have been raised in this day and age that makes everyone, even from a young age, assume that the behaviour of others is their fault? (Rhetorical question obviously - victim blaming / shaming / female behaviour controlling / avoiding talking about the perpetrator's sense of entitlement ....). Perhaps fiction is one way to deal with both sides of this equation - the woman is not to blame, the consequences of the behaviour are real and immediate, and the events are frightening.
MAKE A HARD FIST is a young adult novel that balances a heap of tricky elements with considerable aplomb. It's tense and scary, yet never disempowering. The dialogue is believable, the interactions between all ages convincing, and the plot is a solid one. It's educational without being preachy, and the characters are strong and very real.
Don't be tempted to think that this is a novel for young women though - this should be a novel that everyone reads, whatever your gender identification and whatever your age. Maybe keep a couple of copies on hand for immediate distribution to anybody stupid enough to start any sentence about any victim with the words "if only she'd....".
Lizzie Quinn thinks she's tough. But when Lizzie is attacked in her local park, she realises just how vulnerable she is. She knows she has to get her confidence back. The thing is, she's scared of her own shadow these days.
Lizzie Q, why so blue?
Then she receives a letter in the mail, unsigned. Her stupid friends...or maybe her shortlived boyfriend? But they all deny it.
More letters arrive and Lizzie begins to think someone is watching her.
She has a stalker.