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Fiction; Contemporary realistic fiction;
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AbstractChildren's Book and Play Review, September / October 1999
Neufeld, John. Boys Lie. Dorling Kindersley, 1999. ISBN 0-7894-2624-2. $16.95. 165 pp. B 7-9 FI Reviewed by Rachel Welton Gina is much more physically developed than other girls her age. After she is assaulted by a group of boys at a public swimming pool in New York, Gina and her mother move to Santa Barbara to escape the pain and horror of the attack. As Gina begins eighth grade in her new California school, she is judged and gossiped about because of her mature figure. Rumors of her assault surface, and three boys plan to rape Gina because they think she has “tasted the fruit” once and wants it again. When two of the boys figure a way out of the plan, the ringleader decides to go in alone. He goes to Gina’s house and forces himself on her, but she bites, kicks, and runs away. The next day at school, the attacker is full of bravado, saying that he “scored” with Gina, bargaining that she’ll keep quiet. At first, that is exactly what Gina plans to do, but later she realizes that she does not need to live in fear. Gina tells her classmates about the incident in perfect detail, absolving her from an unearned reputation, and getting her attacker the punishment he deserves. While dealing with real issues, this book may not be well received with the audience for which it is intended. Parents should read this book before allowing their children to read it, because the subject matter is mature. The story promotes an obvious agenda, but in the right situation with the right supervision, it could be a good springboard to discuss the important issues of rape and sexual harassment.
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