Good Girls Die by Ayura Ayira
|Good Girls Die by Ayura Ayira|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A fourteen-year-old black girl is raped. It should be cut and dried but the system is not designed for her to get justice - or even support. The writing is so compelling that you'll feel frightened. I did.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 280||Date: August 2022|
|Publisher: Independently published|
This story is not for everyone.
Lavender Daniels was three weeks short of her fifteenth birthday when The Incident happened. She was a very bright student, a bit too nerdy if truth be told, and suffered from vitiligo - people were afraid to hug her in case it's contagious. It's not easy being a black girl whose skin is 84% white. She had a crush on seventeen-year-old Reggie Anderson but never thought he would notice her. Then he did: Lavender was very good at math and Reggie asked if she would tutor him. She readily agreed: tutoring was something she gladly did at church: this was just an extension. She went to his house and he raped her. In shock, she even allowed him to give her a lift home.
I did wonder why Ayura Ayira gave the stark warning at the beginning of the book but I soon found out. It isn't that the description of the rape is particularly graphic - Ayira handles it with great sensitivity - it's that you're going to feel the despair that Lavender feels as she's let down by just about everyone but her parents. You're also going to find that any traumas in your own past are going to be pulled to the surface. You'll relive the way you were let down.
It took Lav four days to pluck up the courage to report what happened to the police. She goes with her parents, acutely conscious of the distress they're feeling - and is reprimanded for the delay in coming forward. There was an insistence on the necessity for minute details of what she said and when she said it to be accurate. The family turns to their church only to find that the pastor takes the view that Lavender is in a sexual relationship with a non-believer. The older women - the bedrock of the congregation - think that Lavender is not - should not be - in good standing with the church. The school principal thinks that those who are attacking Lavender are teasing.
Good Girls Die is the story of how Lavender's life changes and how her attitudes alter. The writing is superb: Ayira captures those moments perfectly as we see the gentle, thoughtful girl harden and develop her own defence mechanisms. We might not agree with what she does to cope but we can understand why she does it.
Ayira says that this book is not for anyone other than an adult. At first, I thought that it might be suitable for an older teen but I quickly came to the conclusion that I would not like any young person to think that - in this situation - they would not be believed and supported. This is a story for people who know that life is frequently unfair, that victims are blamed and who can cope with the almost unbearable feeling that we are all responsible for what happens to young people like Lavender. I cried - and I was angry.
I'd like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
We can also recommend All The Rage by Courtney Summers.
You can read more book reviews or buy Good Girls Die by Ayura Ayira at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Good Girls Die by Ayura Ayira at Amazon.com.
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