What Happened to Rachel Riley? by Claire Swinarski
I’ve read juvenile fiction books and young adult books that made me realize – with a sinking heart – that I bullied other kids. I didn’t stop the bullying. I didn’t even try. I didn’t really recognize what was happening was bullying. I wish that I had. I wish I’d been empowered by those books then.
What Happened to Rachel Riley? made me realize that when I was a little girl, “the boys” sexually harassed me and my friends. We didn’t do anything to stop it. We didn’t tell teachers or our parents. We didn’t really recognize what was happening was sexual harassment. Girls who read What Happened to Rachel Riley? will. They will be empowered by reading this book, and if they are sexually harassed, they will know what to do. That’s the most important thing to say about this book.
Secondly, starting with the title, the central mystery around Rachel Riley instantly engages the reader. Our protagonist, Anna, is the “new girl” at her elementary school. As she gets to know her peers, she learns that last year Rachel Riley was the most popular girl at the school. Now no one talks to her. No one will talk about her. Anna sets out to find out why. This fantastic, suspenseful format, turns a fairly serious subject into a page turner.
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