by Jolene Perry
published by Tribute
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: YA Contemporary, Standalone, YA Saves, A to Z, 100 Books in a Year
Jolene Perry knows how to present tough issues in a way that is accessible and acceptable to teens, as evidenced by her latest novel, Knee Deep. This is a realistic portrayal of abusive high school relationships, charged with emotion.
Ronnie has always known Shawn was the one for her. They began dating as young teens, stayed connected when Shawn's family moved, and are stronger than ever now that it is senior year and Shawn has moved back. However, Shawn is different from that boy she fell in love with. Lately, he has become moody and temperamental when Ronnie does things he does not like - such as wear shoes that make her taller than him. When Ronnie finds out that his parents have been getting into heated arguments that often become physical, she blames his irritability on that...and even looks the other way the first time he leaves bruises on her wrist. Soon, though, the bruises become more frequent, but Ronnie knows she must stand by Shawn. Their friend Luke, though, begins to notice that something is not right, and even stops Shawn from hurting Ronnie a few times. But no matter what Luke says, or how close she and him become, Ronnie feels Shawn can go back to that boy she feel in love with and she must stay by him no matter what. What will it take for Ronnie to finally see the truth?
While I, luckily, have never been in a situation like Ronnie's, Perry made it really easy to see where she was coming from. So many times we read about an abusive relationship and wonder why she (or he) does not just leave; through Ronnie's viewpoint, Perry shows why that is not possible. Hearing Ronnie's thoughts and seeing how they parallel some of my own in totally different situations helped me connect with her and truly understand her predicament.
Knee Deep is a must read for all teen girls, whether they are in an abusive relationship or not even in a relationship at all. Jolene Perry gets to the heart of the matter in a story that is highly readable and enjoyable.