Believed

TRIGGER WARNING: THIS BOOK DISCUSSES SEXUAL ASSAULT PLEASE READ WITH CAUTION.

There’s nothing to see. I can’t move. I have no voice. I feel only fear. Fear is all there is. I am fear, and it is me.

Okay so this book I am hesitant to give a rating to because I don't think that is the most important element here. So I'm not going to rate it I'm going to give you my take on it and then let you do what you think is best from there. Before we go any further you need to know that this book is about Kelsea a 21 year old college student and mermaid who is raped by Chad a hockey player at her school. So to all the survivors out there please please read the trigger warnings or have a friend read the book for you first.

Sexual assault is a very serious topic and unfortunately the major issue that I have with this book is that the main character being a mermaid seems to detract from that importance. When I started this book I spent a lot of time very confused as to why so much effort was being put into developing this story of mermaids because so much of the plot focused on that seemed to detract from the importance of sexual assault and the impact this has on survivors and even their friends and family. Some of the plot points in the story are written for what should have been a much different novel. We have Kelsea who has been adopted by a human family and is learning things about her birth mother, we have the mermaid storyline in itself and we have an elaborate coverup by the town which all seem disconnected from focusing on Kelsea and her experiences.

All of this being said Micheal Emberger does provide moments in this book that seem encouraging and even helpful to survivors and their friends and family. If you are able to set aside the mermaid plot, Kelsea becomes a normal woman who has just experienced an incredibly traumatic experience which has repercussions for her entire life. Emberger has moments were he breaks away from the narrative he has created and shines a light on these emotional experiences. It is these moments that I find to be the most redeeming part of this novel. And in case you don't decide to read this book I want to take a moment to share them because every survivor should know someone understands:


And I’ll never forget it. It will never go away. It will never get better, and he’ll get tired of it. He’ll get tired of me. He won’t put up with me. He won’t love me. He can’t. Not now.
It changes your story, but it doesn’t change you.
No one wants to hear that getting raped leaves you with fury and rage and righteous indignation and no way to release it.
I have a friend. I have an ally. I have someone who will fight with me, and maybe that will make a difference.
The oppression of the justice system that I once thought would help me. Clearly, I was mistaken.

I won't go into anymore detail about this book because I think it is something that has to be experienced in the moment. I will tell you that it has a happy ending. I also love that author takes time at the end of the novel to address survivors and acknowledge that the events of this story are just that a story but the experience and trauma of sexual assault is very real. And not everyone has a happy ending to their stories. He stresses the importance of community for survivors. So if nothing else I encourage you to at least check out this site and learn more https://www.rainn.org/resources.

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