Readers have called my young adult novel Evidence of Things Not Seen “edgy” and had a lot of questions about the characters profiled there. Some of those questions have been, well, edgy themselves. With only a chapter spent with each, readers fiercely want to hold the characters accountable and make sure they get the respect they deserve.
1. What goes on in your mind when your father gets abusive? Is it different when he hurts you and when he does it to your mother?
2. You were pretty shocked to see your mom with money. How did you feel when she told you how she got it?
3. You took the box of Christmas ornaments as you fled the house, because you “didn’t want to leave one last breakable thing in the house.” What did it mean to you to take them? Why did you hang them on a tree in the middle of nowhere?
4. While hanging the ornaments, you found a pair of science goggles and took them. What did those goggles represent to you? How do you think they got in that tree?
Readers have also seen themselves in characters or seen their friends in the pages. Some of things they see about themselves and others make them curious, some scare them, and some offer hope. Each set of questions is followed by some websites and organizations where you might get answers. I call them “resources” for lack of a better name. But they could also be called a lifeline, a revelation, or evidence of things not seen. Don’t be afraid to look for answers.
No one deserves to be abused: not by a parent, not by a sibling, not by a boyfriend or girlfriend. Let the amazing folks at TeensHealth.org drop some words on the subject.
There’s also some good information at LeavingAbuse.com.
Also, every state has a domestic abuse hotline. Get the contact info for your state here: