February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month (TDVAM). This is an issue that impacts everyone – not just teens – but their parents, teachers, friends, and communities as well. Together, we can raise the nation’s awareness about teen dating violence and promote safe, healthy relationships.
Nationwide, youth age 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault. Studies show that approximately 10% of adolescents report being the victim of physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner during the previous year. Girls are particularly vulnerable to experiencing violence in their relationships and are more likely to suffer long-term behavioral and health consequences, including suicide attempts, eating disorders, and drug use.
Adolescents in abusive relationships often carry these unhealthy patterns of violence into future relationships. Indeed, children who are victimized or witness violence frequently bring this experience with them to the playground, the classroom, later into teen relationships, and, ultimately, they can end up the victims and perpetrators of adult intimate partner violence.
The books below highlight stories about teens who have experienced teen dating violence.
What Kind of Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides.
It all started when Mike Parker's girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal's office and said Mike hit her. But her classmates have questions. Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay with Mike if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it's true, Mike should face the consequences. But is it true?
Some girls want to rally for Mike’s expulsion—and some want to rally around Mike. As rumors about what really happened spread, the North Bay Academy students will question what it means to be guilty or innocent, right or wrong.
And We Call It Love by Amanda Vink
Clare and Zari are best friends. They write music together, go everywhere together, and they know everything about the other. At least they did before Zari started dating Dion. The more Zari falls for Dion, the less she has time for anything else. At first, Clare chalks it up to a new and exciting relationship, and she tries to be happy for her friend despite her loneliness. When Zari starts to show up to school with half-hidden bruises, Clare knows there's something darker about this relationship that has to be stopped.
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else--her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?
Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi
When Betts meets Aiden at the candy store where she works, their connection is like a sugar rush to the heart. Betts already knows the two of them are infinite. Inevitable. Destined to become an us.
Betts has only ever kept one secret from her best friend, Jo, but suddenly there’s a long list of things she won’t tell her, things Jo wouldn’t understand because Jo doesn’t see how good Aiden is for Betts. She finds him needy. Possessive. Controlling.
She’s wrong. With love like this, nothing else matters.
Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios
Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon, and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors, out of her California town, too small to contain her big-city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.
Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.
Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson
There are two kinds of people on the planet. Hunters and prey
I thought I would be safe after my mother died. I thought I could stop searching for new places to hide. But you can’t escape what you are, what you’ve always been.
My name is Savannah Darcy Rose.
And I am still prey.
Though Savannah Rose―Sparrow to her friends and family―is a gifted ballerina, her real talent is keeping secrets. Schooled in silence by her long-dead mother, Sparrow has always believed that her lifelong creed―“I’m not the kind of girl who tells”―will make her just like everyone else: Normal. Happy. Safe. But in the aftermath of a brutal assault by her seemingly perfect boyfriend Tristan, Sparrow must finally find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past or lose herself forever….