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 pushed you to decide to go find Russ and call him to meet you at the pull-out?
2. Once when your momma was doing something bad to a man while you were just inside the car, you said you knew your life was about to change. “It was almost over. It had just begun.” What did you mean by that?
3. Assuming that alternate realities exist the way Tommy Smythe said they did, what would you have been doing at age 13 in some of the other universes?
4. What do you think should happen to a parent who sells their child into prostitution? Why?
5. How did it make you feel to realize that your momma was becoming less like a sister or friend and more like a boss?
6. Why did you go off with Russ in the first place? What did he represent for you?
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.
If you are a young person being sexually mistreated or exploited by an adult in your life, there are people out there who want to help. Please reach out to someone. It’s important to know that kids who are sexually exploited aren’t bad, and they haven’t done anything wrong. They completely deserve to be safe, supported, and cared for.