No ShameTitle: No Shame

Author: Anne Cassidy

Pages: 192 Pages

Publisher: Hot Key Books/Bonnier Zaffre

The Blurb

The powerful companion to NO VIRGIN.

From the author of the critically acclaimed, LOOKING FOR JJ, shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2004 and the Carnegie Medal in 2005.

Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just.

Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .

A tautly told and important book, perfect for readers of Asking for It by Louise O’Neill.

The Review

For years, my good friend Shirley has encouraged me to read books by Anne Cassidy. Now due to an ever growing TBR pile Cassidy’s books were always put on the backburner. That was until last year when I read a review copy of No Virgin. In No Virgin we follow the story of Stacey Woods during a difficult period in her life which leads to her being raped.

No Shame, No Virgin’s sequel follows the story and introduces the harrowing element of dealing with the eventual court case. In many ways, No Shame is a much more powerful novel because we see the udder degradation that rape victims have to go through even though the ordeal of rape is over they have to relive it and have it twisted and torn apart. Victim shaming seems to be the way of these cases. I have said it before on reviews that deal with this challenging subject, in most cases you are innocent until proven guilty. With rape victims they are liars until proven otherwise.

Cassidy has handled this subject with compassion and confidence. With Stacey, Cassidy tries to show the cocktail of emotions that she is feeling and deal with it in a sensitive way and it is with her years of experience writing for the YA audience that Cassidy absolutely nails this.

No Shame is definitely my sequel of the year. You can read both books now.

No Shame by Anne Cassidy is available now.

For more information regarding Anne Cassidy (@annecassidy6) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hot Key Books (@HotKeyBooks) please visit www.hotkeybooks.com.

For more information regarding Bonnier Zaffre Books (@BonniereZaffre) please visit their Twitter page.

4 Stars

He Said She SaidTitle: He Said/She Said

Author: Erin Kelly

Pages: 416 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton/St Martin’s Press/Minotaur Press

The Blurb

Who do you believe? 

He said it was consensual.
The woman said nothing. 
But Laura saw it… 
… didn’t she?

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura and Kit interrupt something awful.

Laura is sure about what happened. Later, in a panic, she tells a little white lie – and four lives are changed irreparably.

When the victim turns up on their doorstep, her gratitude spills into dangerous obsession. Laura and Kit decide to run – but Beth knows they have pledged to see every eclipse together. They will never be able to entirely escape her.

As the next eclipse draws near, Laura must confront the fallout from what she saw in the darkness. Confessing will cost her marriage; keeping the secret might prove fatal.

But all secrets, sooner or later, will come to light.

The Review

Oh, there are just some topics in books that are hard to read about and I’m guessing even harder to write about. In this case, that topic is rape. In He Said/She Said author Erin Kelly writes about a case of rape whereby both parties argue different things. He says it was consensual, she says it wasn’t. It is said that in most crimes you are innocent until proven guilty. With rape cases it is the victim who is seen as a liar until proven otherwise. Kelly shines a light on this debate in He Said/She Said.

It wasn’t the fastest paced book which for a thriller I was expecting much snappier timing what I will say is that Kelly has plotted some excellent twists and turn that did leave me gasping out loud with shock.

The paranoia that her character Laura possesses was excellently executed. In fact Kelly’s characterisations across the novel were brilliant. He Said/She Said is just a dark portrayal of how lives can be ruined by lies….but also by the truth.

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly is available now.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

For more information regarding St Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress) please visit us.macmillan.com/smp.aspx.

For more information regarding Minotaur Books (@MinotaurBooks)please visit www.minotaur.com.

4 Stars

The Blurb

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident.

One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there.

She doesn’t know why she’s in pain.

But everyone else does. Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night.

But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…

The Review

After reading Louise O’Neill’s debut – Only Ever Yours – last year, I was intrigued to see what else she had to offer. In my opinion, O’Neill’s follow up novel, Asking For It, was much more impressive.

Based on any number of real life stories, the narrative follows Emma – a pretty, popular, slightly nasty girl. She knows that she is good looking and she loves the attention that this affords her. However, one night at a party where she is drunk and has taken drugs Emma is sexually attacked.

But if she doesn’t remember it then it isn’t really a crime…is it?

This is the problem that many people who are attacked face. O’Neill is highlighting the injustices in society by which a girl has to assume a paragon of virtue to be believed if she is ever attacked. God forbid a person dresses provocatively or isn’t virginal. Emma isn’t but that doesn’t mean that she deserves to be attacked. Nor does she deserve the backlash from those who don’t believe her.

O’Neill puts it best in Asking For It when she writes:

“They are all innocent until proven guilty. But not me. I am a liar until I am proven honest.”

This is the attitude that we have in society and it is wrong. The victim keeps on being the victim long after the rape has taken place.

This is an important book. I really hope that young adults, male and female get the chance to read it and that it isn’t censored by adults. People need to read Asking For It.

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill is available now.

Follow Louise O’Neill (@Oneilllo) on Twitter.

Asking For It Louise ONeill