by Susan Shaw
Walking home on the last day of school is a glorious feeling. No more homework, no more tests, just fun and freedom for the next three months. But all of that is interrupted for Tracy when she is grabbed from the side of the road walking home. The whole ordeal only lasts a few hours, but when she is found beaten, raped, and traumatized you realize you're only at the beginning of her story.
Safe is a book about a girl recovering from a traumatic experience. The book doesn't focus so much on the act of what happened to her but about the aftermath. We watch her as she tries to find security again, as she withdraws into herself in order to protect herself, as she tries to pretend everything is normal while pushing people away. Tracy is a character that many can identify with, a strong girl who is trying to find her way. I thought the Shaw was smart to include scenes where Tracy is viewed as the one in the wrong as well, like when the brother of her attacker tells her she is a horrible person for telling 'lies,' because in real life the victims of crimes like these are not only treated like the victim they are. While the book does revolve around a really heavy topic, the way it glosses over the actual acts makes the book appropriate for more mature tweens.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Level: 7th Grade