From Publishers Weekly
An incident of sexual harassment occurring in a high school corridor dramatically alters the lives of two of the students involved. Of the three youths accused of assaulting sharp-tongued Valerie Michon, only Rollo, a junior, experiences twinges of guilt which evolve into a desperate need to be forgiven by his family as well as his victim. Meanwhile, bitter, fearful Valerie struggles to regain her independence and trust in men. Readers are sure to recognize some of the novel's characters: macho "Candy," who claims his attack was nothing more than horseplay; and his smaller-than-average buddy, Brig, who longs to be a bigshot. Other prime players include an assortment of teenaged girls who also have experienced various forms of harassment, and the school administrators, whose chief concern is ducking any publicity surrounding the assault. Although the story begins somewhat slowly, the pace quickly increases as events build to a predictable yet gripping climax. In her frank scenario Mazer ( After the Rain ; Taking Terri Mueller ), skillfully avoids sensationalizing either the action or issues; rather, she paints a powerful portrait of loss of control and victimization. Her thought-provoking book underscores the responsibility of victims-- and society in general--to take action against injustice. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Perhaps it wasn't exactly a rape, but Valerie knows that those few moments when she was cornered in the school corridor have changed her forever. The nightmares may fade, but she'll never regain her trust in a safe world. With great skill and compassion, Mazer endows the cast of this familiar drama with real individuality. Two of the boys are school leaders with home problems to fuel the anger they act out in mean-spirited pranks; the third--oversize, relatively nice Rollo (whose point of view prevails)--is a follower, thoughtlessly caught up in the excitement of his friends' misdeeds. The student grapevine is swift, adding embarrassment to Valerie's pain; and she gets little sympathy from a principal who thinks first of ``damage control.'' In time, she and some other girls begin to exchange similar experiences, helping her make the decision to write a letter, describing her trauma, to a local paper. Meanwhile, though the other boys persist in thinking the incident was ``no big deal,'' Rollo worries and tries to open communication with Valerie. Still, when she challenges him to imagine himself in her position, he simply doesn't get it--somehow, he persists, he would have been strong enough to escape. Accessible, but far from simplistic, Mazer's balanced depiction of both sides is a powerful demonstration of the evils of harassment and how its victims can assert themselves; it may even help harassers see the other side. (Fiction. 12-17) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.