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Harmless by Dana Reinhardt

Okay, I'm writing this review in attempt to distract myself from the fact that my foot really hurts. Apparently, sitting in the same position for hours causes your foot to fall asleep -- and then standing up in really tall sandals probably isn't the smartest idea. Oh well, I only have to work a few more hours, and then I can go home, take a bath, and put my feet up

Anyway... Harmless is the story of a lie that takes on a life of its own. Ana, Emma, and Mariah, all high school freshmen, are partying by the river one night (despite what their parents think), when one of them receives a voice message from her parents, frantically wondering where she is. Without thinking, they make up a story: Emma was attacked, and almost raped, but Mariah hit the attacker over the head with a rock and he ran. Innocently, they assume that this story will go no further -- but their parents insist on calling the police, and it snowballs from there.

Having read, (and raved about) A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life, I found myself disappointed in this novel. One of the best parts of Brief Chapter was how Reinhardt created a living, breathing, three-dimensional character in Simone, but in Harmless, she has chosen to use all three girls as narrators in alternating chapters, so unfortunately, the reader doesn't have a chance to really get to know any of them. In her defense, however, I'm not sure which of the three narrators I would have chosen if I had to choose just one. Or, perhaps the novel simply should have been longer, so she would have had more time to delve into the characters and their motivations.

However, I would still recommend Harmless, especially to be read in conjunction with Speak, as suggested by Tasha of KidsLit. Readers might also find this article from Novelist interesting (it lists YA titles that deal with rape and dating violence)*.

*if that link doesn't work, or you don't have access to novelist, let me know and I'll try to e-mail it to you.


Jackie said...

I finished Harmless last night. I must let it sit and percolate.

Sara said...

I'm definitely interested in hearing what you think on this one!

Little Willow said...

Dear Harmless,

Why aren't you at the library yet?

Little Willow

P.S. Because it just wouldn't be a comment if I didn't recommend another book for Sara: Friction by E.R. Frank.

Sara said...

Hahaha... I think I'm going to have to start keeping a running list: "Little Willow Recommends".

Diana Peterfreund said...

Sara, I would love a copy of that article, since the link isn't working for me. My email is on my profile if you click my name. Thank you in advance.

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