My name is Stacey Woods and I was raped.
Stacey is the victim of a terrible sexual attack. She does not feel able to go to the police, or talk about it to anybody other than her best friend, Patrice.
Patrice, outraged, when she cannot persuade her to go to the police, encourages Stacey to write everything down. This is Stacey's story.
No Virgin by Anne Cassidy was published in paperback by Hot Key Books on 3 November 2016.
I used to read a lot of Young Adult fiction, but don't seem to have read so much over the past year or so. However, I've been a fan of Anne Cassidy's writing for a long time, her novel Looking for JJ is one of my all-time favourite Young Adult novels. It won many prizes.
No Virgin is an absolute must-read for older teenagers, and their parents or carers. Anne Cassidy deals with the emotional aftermath of a rape. She does it sensitively, with complete understanding, but also pulls no punches at all. Stacey's voice is so recognisable to anyone who knows a teenage girl, or was a teenage girl.
Stacey is seventeen, and in common with most girls of that age she's dealing with a whole host of life issues. Friendship groups, a family that has split, a younger sister who had a baby when she was fourteen. She dreams of becoming a fashion designer and when she meets smooth-talking Harry in a cafe she is in awe. He's a posh boy, goes to a private school and knows people. He can introduce her to people in the fashion world. He bowls her over.
Stacey falls for Harry, but she's really not keen on his friends, or his brother Marty, With good reason.
No means no. It doesn't matter if you've already kissed the guy, it doesn't matter if you are a virgin or not. It doesn't matter if you wear a short skirt, or if you've had too much to drink. If you say no, it means no.
Money, intelligence and a powerful family does not give anyone the right to rape someone. Threats, bribes, flattery and sweet-talk will not alter the fact that no means no, and rape is rape.
Anne Cassidy has dealt with a very important issue, she's created a character who is recognisable, not perfect, and readers will empathise with.
No Virgin is powerful and moving. Anne Cassidy writes with passion and emotion, her voice is clear. The message is strong and one that should be shouted loudly.