Social Issue

Disability Clothing Line at Target

51013FE3-7C45-49B6-A9DA-93D8F4936264Cat and Jack, a brad through Target (one of my fave stores), has a clothing line for people with disabilities, specifically kids.

These clothes include sensory-sensitive pieces, specifically for people on the autism spectrum.

Here is a list of features:

  • side and back snap
  • zip closures
  • hidden openings for abdominal access
  • hidden leg openings
  • wider leg openings
  • high-rise back
  • zip-off sleeves
  • footless sleepwear
  • diaper-friendly leggings and bodysuits
  • extra soft and comfortable cotton knits

Benefits:

  • dressing quicker and easier
  • less sensory discomfort
  • putting on diapers easier (even for older kids)

How to find:

  • go to Target.com
  • click on “Categories”
  • click “Kids’ Adaptive Clothing”

Parents of children with disabilities, take advantage! The outfits I saw on the site were very cute and fashionable.

 

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Book Reviews

Review of “The Nest”

B0DB428B-0C36-454B-8E1E-51865EDF620A“The Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (the middle name is cool!) is a popular book and was acquired by Amazon to make a movie version. Amy Poehler has read it (written on the cover of the book) and loved it.

You might think the plot is too typical: siblings who have a dysfunctional family and complicated relationships with each other who are out for money like sharks, albeit with good reasons. But the story is not that simple and although there are cliches, there are also many twists and unique plot points that set it apart from other family dramas.

I loved all the characters except Jack. Every person is messed up in some way but, honestly, that’s what makes them – and us – human. Even unlikeable characters had sympathetic or redeeming qualities, like Leo. Those you didn’t root for you sympathized with. Every single character grew except for maybe Leo, who fools the reader into thinking he is changing (sorry for the spoilers). What’s really touching and amazing is how the characters help each other with their growth, directly or indirectly.

I was caught a little off guard by the fact that the four siblings are not the only point-of-view characters. There are quite a few others: Vinnie, a pizza parlor owner with one arm who helps Matilda; Tommy, Stephanie’s neighbor who has a statue that Jack wants to sell on the black market; Matilda; Louisa and Nora, Melody’s twin daughters; Paul, Bea’s boss and owner of a book company; and Stephanie, former flame of Leo who takes him back in and who is Bea’s former literary agent.

Every single character’s plotline connected to one another’s. Louisa and Nora’s sneaking out of SAT practice makes them catch Leo buying drugs and they reveal it to the three other siblings. Stephanie is impregnated by Leo and is the one to reveal to the rest of the family that Leo took off. She also connects Matilda and Vinnie to programs that can help Matilda with her missing foot and treatment. Jack ends up helping Melody (I won’t say how; can’t give away too many spoilers). Of course Leo’s actions affect everybody because he endangers their share of the Nest and he’s the reason Matilda is missing a foot.

Sweeney has a gift for not just connecting everything and everybody but making use of symbols. Bea’s satchel represents her dreams and talent, thus it was untouched during her period of writer’s block. The statue that Tommy stole represents his inability to let go of the past and his dead wife. Almost every object represents something and holds special meaning to at least one character.

The descriptions that Sweeney uses are amazing. It makes me think of the types of descriptions that Jodi Picoult or Ellen Hopkins would use. Some are gritty, some are elegant, and some are heartbreaking.

There are many twists, some predictable, some not. I honestly didn’t expect Leo to take off because I was fooled into thinking he was becoming a better person. I didn’t expect Stephanie to help Matilda or for one character (not saying who) to get a divorce.

I can’t think of many cons except for maybe the character of Jack.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars.

Social Justice

Why Aces need to be accepted in LGBTQ Community

Lately, I’ve been questioning my identity. I realized I could live quite happily without ever having sex or romance, as long as I have a great career, close friends and family, and at least one child. Maybe I’m an ace, maybe I’m not. I’m not sure yet.

I’ve been doing research for my own benefit and because I am a naturally curious person. It also helps that my social work program encourages diversity and knowledge of diversity.

What I’ve found is upsetting.

I admit aces (another name for people who are asexual/aromantic) don’t have it as bad as homosexuals, transgenders, etc. However, the struggle with identity and misunderstanding from the majority population still affects asexuals. They/we are still different from the majority. In fact, people think it’s even weirder not to have sexual or romantic urges period or at least feel the overall need for it.

Sex is a huge part of society, especially American culture. That’s why it’s incomprehensible to be able to live without sex. Many TV show plotlines wouldn’t exist without sex and the problems that can ensue. Without sex, there wouldn’t be the drama of infidelity, unexpected pregnancies, STI’s, and that moment where two people finally hook up as fans root from their rooms or living rooms.

People can at least understand homosexuals because they desire sex like straight people. They understand the want and need to have sex. But what about aces? They are viewed as freaks of nature. I’m not saying homosexuals aren’t but in a way aces are even more isolated.

Aces still face certain problems. They struggle to date because many people are sexual and might not want a relationship without sex. An aromantic might feel lonely and be seen as cold or freakish because they don’t need romance.

I’ve never dated before, though I’ve had minor crushes. I’ve been bombarded with so many comments and questions over the years:

“How are you single?”

“Aren’t you lonely?”

“Why don’t you want to date?”

“Have you tried?”

“How have you never had a boyfriend?”

“You’ve never had sex? You are missing out on a lot!”

Aces suffer similar things to the rest of the gay community: stereotypes, misconceptions, unwanted questions, and even hate crimes. “Corrective rape” is applied to asexuals just like homosexuals. If a person is aromantic, they might not want to date and if a person is single, it’s harder to adopt unless you’re rich or have connections. Most of all, not matter what the place on the asexual spectrum, there is loneliness and frustration.

It’s wrong that the LGBTQ community doesn’t really accept asexuals as part of the community. I thought of all people, they would be welcoming and understanding and want to provide a safe zone. But even minorities can have prejudice or skepticism.

You could argue that the Asexual Community is enough for aces. But it would bring more comfort and power to them to be part of something huge like LGBTQ. Why shouldn’t they be represented in the Pride Parades or on the rainbow flag? Why shouldn’t they be asked to talk at panels or forums to share their opinions and experiences?

Aces are the least represented in media and fiction. Gay characters are becoming more common but what about asexuals/aromantics? There is a HUGE need for rep for them/us.

Asexuals are still way more invisible than the rest of the LGBTQ community. Everyone knows what being gay or transgender means. But I bet a random person on the street won’t know what asexual or aromantic means. If they do, they might roll their eyes and say it’s not a serious thing.

What do you think? Do you think asexuals/aromantics should be represented and included by the LGBT community? I won’t attack you if you say no. Have I at least inspired you to look up more info on it?

Short Story

Ravenous: Short Story

Thick, gray fog spread through the small village and skillfully hid it from the rest of the world. Even crows and ravens got lost if they ventured into the fog. The moonlight couldn’t pierce it. However, it wasn’t hidden from the inhuman eyes. The Taker easily found it when nothing mortal and alive could.

The Taker was a being that wasn’t alive but wasn’t dead. It was just…there.  A curse had been placed on its existence so that it would wander aimlessly for all eternity and would devour souls and corpses to survive. The Taker wore a dull gray robe and since it had no face it wore a hood.

The Taker went into the town, its gray cloak blending in with the fog. It was unlike mortals in that it never breathed, never moved a muscle, only floated. The only time it did move its limbs or even its head was to feed. The Taker went into the nearest house and easily went through the door like a ghost. The Taker couldn’t touch anything in the physical world besides humans.

The Taker went upstairs and found a meal. The “meal” was an elderly woman who was preparing for bed. The Taker moved silenly to her. The woman couldn’t see it. Nobody could see the Taker. The old lady stood still and shivered when the Taker took her by the shoulders. Its hands were colder than ice.

The Taker breathed in and took in the scent of the elderly woman. It  drank in her calmness and happiness, which tasted sweeter than honey. The Taker, bit by bit, drank in the woman’s soul. All her memories, emotions, and thoughts went down the Taker’s throat as thickly as milk. The lady became an empty shell and when the Taker let go of her she fell to the floor.

A middle-aged woman entered and screamed when she saw her mother’s corpse. A little boy followed her, his thumb in his mouth and curious as to why his grandmother was on the floor. The Taker grabbed the mother, who sobbed helplessly but stopped once the Taker’s hands rested on her shoulders. It sucked in her soul, which was more vibrant and youthful than her mother’s. Her soul tasted even sweeter, though she had a lot less wisdom. After it was done feeding from the mom the Taker drank in the little boy’s spirit. His spirit was purely innocent and tasted the best. Children always had the most delicious souls and were dessert for the Taker.

Once the Taker was done feeding it left the house. It visited every single house and devoured every single soul. Some tasted bitter, some tasted sweet but all were delicacies to the Taker.

Despite the ambrosial taste of the woman’s pure soul, the Taker wasn’t satisfied. It never was. Even with the taste of food on its tongue, even in the face of all the horror it’d caused, it was still hungry. Its curse was to be forever ravenous.

 

Short Story · Social Issue · Social Justice

Dangers of Sexting: Short Story

I have tons of notifications from Snapchat and Facebook. I start with Facebook and have at least ten posts on my wall and five private messages in Messenger. These are all from people I classify as acquaintances, not friends, though, honestly, Becca is my only friend now that Mindy is out of the picture.

I force myself to look at all the daunting black letters. Each one is like an enemy soldier or a demon, switching on me to confuse me and the confusion and frustration are their weapons. I force them to realign and go back to their proper places like a general, though they don’t always automatically listen or listen at all. It’s even harder because of some of the text abbreviations, which are almost impossible for a dyslexic but fortunately there aren’t a lot of them in this case.

What I read is a sucker punch.

guess you’re opening a porno blog now?

when i said you should model i didn’t mean Playboy Bunny!

nice tits

can i be your slave?

your boobs are bigger than your brain

slut

bimbo

when can we c ur pussy?

send me some pics

are there more?

Each sentence is a bullet to my heart and gut. I feel like I swallowed the bullets and they are swishing around in me, tormenting me. Whoever came up with “sticks and stones” was full of total shit. Nothing hurts worse than these words. This is worse than anything my trolls could have said on my blog, or even what Dara might come up with.

I don’t want to see the private messages. It gives me acid in my stomach just thinking about it. But I force myself to do it. I need to see the extent of the hatred and cruelty. So with a trembling finger I open my private messages.

What the fuck were you thinking? Mindy said you were always reckless but shit, girl. You need to fucking think. Were you thinking?

That message is from Cheryl. I forgot we were even Friends on Facebook. Her disdain hurts worse than the crude jokes and name-calling. Then I feel rage. Who the fuck is she to mock me? We’re not friends. She stole my friend.

It takes me about five minutes to read over the rest of the messages, most of whom are people I chat with from time to time but don’t really consider friends or hang out with. They follow Mindy’s lead, shaming me and basically calling me stupid without actually using the word.

I try to tell myself that it’s not what I think. Maybe it isn’t The Photo. Maybe it’s something else.

But what else could generate this much animosity?

I go to Jamie’s social media, all outlets, and force myself to peruse the online ocean to fish for The Photo. I force myself to cast the line and find the beast.

I do find it. Like a shark, it snaps me in its jaws and doesn’t let go as soon as I come across it. The terror is just as bad as coming into contact with a real marine predator.

Jamie put the photo on every social media site he has. He even filtered it to make my nipples look pinker and my skin a little brighter. There are comments on both Facebook and Instagram and I don’t bother to read them. I just can’t.

Terror and rage consume me like a flame, threatening to combust me. But I have already combusted. All that’s left of the girl I was before is a pile of cold ashes, ashes that get swept away with each cruel word. Jamie robbed me of the person I was before.

What frustrates me even more, what makes me throw a brush and other stuff at my bedroom wall, is the knowledge that I’m to blame. I gave him the weapon. I trusted him and this is the penalty. Now I am being judged and I will get executed, especially if my parents find out.

Shit, shit, shit, shit!

I go into my closet, wrap my arms around my legs, and sob. I cry like a baby with hiccuping sounds and bang my head against the wall. The sickest part of my hopes that I’ll crack my head open so my problems will be over.

Terror spreads through me and over my skin as fast and cold and merciless as ice in a storm. I’m choking with actual, genuine fear. I fear going back to school, my parents finding out, future employers finding out. I’ll forever be a slut, a stupid girl who did a stupid thing. They say things aren’t written in stone but something written on the Internet stays forever.

Short Story

Wendigo, the Flesh Eater: Short Story

The smell of the flesh of the villagers is intoxicating.

I memorized the look, taste, and smell of what lies beneath the flesh and what happens when I finally rip my prey apart. The screams and screeches, the crunching of bones and tendons, and the squirt of bright red blood is my music. The iron smell of blood and the accompanying smell of other underlying fluids smells better than flowers or the vegetables gathered by the tribe. The things lying beneath the flesh like the muscles, tendons, and bones, and the terrified, agonized faces of my prey are more appealing than a painting or necklace.

I peer through the trees at the wigwam where my next prey lives with nobody else since her mate passed away. This wigwam is almost perfectly circular at the top and it’s funny how she thinks a few layers of animal skins and bark can protect her from predators. Like me. It’s ironic that the humans loathe me yet they hide behind the flesh of other creatures and devour them over their fires.

I don’t need to see into the wigwam to know what’s happening to the Woman. The past three nights she has been plagued by nightmares of her dead mate, imagining him coming into the wigwam in the dead of night with empty eye sockets, brown decayed flesh, and bones peering through flaps of dead skin. Even in dreams she can’t escape me and find solace.

The village think she is cursed and don’t know how right they are. The Woman can smell an odor nobody else can smell, no matter how insistent she is. She smells burnt human flesh, a smell that prevails over the smells of their cooked animal meat and the smoke from their fire. Carrying sweet-smelling flowers and plants didn’t work. Neither did breathing through her mouth.

She also insisted that she heard her mate calling for her. Once she dropped a basket of vegetables and raced into the forest toward her mate. Toward me. A female companion grabbed her dragged her screaming and crying back toward the village. Another time I called to her in the voice of her beloved and she left her wigwam as naked as the day she was brought into this world.

The medicine man tried to heal her. Worked his spells and used all his herbs, chanted until his voice was hoarse. Nothing worked, of course. Even if I left her for other prey, she will never regain her sanity. Her mind will always be as broken as a pot she dropped the other day, thinking she saw me, which she did.

I’m done waiting. My stomach, my entire body, is ravaged by hunger. There is a catch to all my power and never-ending life, which is endless hunger. It’s worse than when I was alive, even when I was lost and wounded after a fight with my brother, unable to hunt. This hunger feels like a monster that writhes in my belly and scratches at my insides like an animal at a tree. The gurgling and growling of this beast won’t go away and my insides clench as though preparing to punch me, which they have. My skull pounds as though being pelted by a hundred stones and my muscles feel as taut as a bow.

I call to her. One final time.

She exits the wigwam, her raven black hair shining blue and white in the light of the full moon. She is nude and walks into the forest, following my voice. I tell her how much “I” miss her and love her and that she can join me. Her eyes are as wide and bright as the moon and her steps quicken until she is running. She doesn’t care if her lithe body is scratched by branches or bushes or that her feet bleed from the rocks and twigs hidden on the dark forest floor.

Finally she is before me. When she sees it’s not her beloved, she freezes, as still as a rock. Then she screeches like an owl and turns to run. I already wrap my very long, bony, fur-covered fingers around her thin upper arm. I pull her into me and she becomes covered in some of my fur. Disgust mixes with fear.

In the few places where I have fur, it is matted and stinks worse than a dog. The rest of my, however, is flesh as pale and thin as a chicken’s stretched tight over huge bones. Some places are just bare bones that are yellowed. I am taller than any man and many limbs and parts are very long, like my fingers and toes. My skull is missing all the skin except on my scalp, where a few long, filthy hairs still cling. Long, yellow, sharp teeth prepare to sink into the Woman’s flesh and deer antlers prepare to impale her should she try to escape, or just to increase my amusement.

She screams and shouts for help as I tear into her flesh with my teeth and my sharp black fingernails. I tear off a whole strip of flesh from her arm and she releases a bloodcurdling scream, no doubt the worst agony she has ever suffered. I chew on her meat and swallow it. I’m still not satiated, even a little. I know that no matter how much of her flesh and blood I consume, I’ll never be satisfied. However, if I do not eat, I will perish. I don’t care to find out what awaits creatures like me in the other world.

I also enjoy the suffering of my prey. Her screams and cries don’t stop and her pain only gets worse. I don’t give her any time to think or deal with the pain. She hits at me with her puny fist but it feels like a leaf hitting me. I am too strong even for a man. I finish both her arms and lick the remainder of the blood from her bones, which are gray in the moonlight that filters through the treetops.

She is dead already, too much blood lost. She won’t feel any more pain. Too bad. I consume the rest of her and lick her bones clean. All that remains of her are gray bones that won’t have anything for the scavengers of the forest to feast upon, not even the rats.

Still I am ravenous. The hunger will never subside, even if I devour the fattest man. But I am still here.

With that in mind, I prepare for my next victim, going back to the village. Perhaps I can feast upon the woman whose belly is round with child. That would mean two meals.

I call out to her through the voice of her late mother, promising no harm will befall her and her child if she comes to me.

 

Social Justice

Resources for Disabled Kids (up to 21)

I had an internship at Union County Special Child Health Services. I referred parents of children with physical or cognitive disabilities to resources such as SSI or day care. It was amazing. I had this internship from September 2017 to May 2018 for my grad program in Social Work.

Part of my experience was doing my own research on possible resources and references. I even set up tours for special needs schools with my supervisors. It was incredible.

I’ve decided that I will do a series form now on that will be spontaneous: Resources for Disabled Kids. This is for you, parents, siblings, caretakers, whoever. Free of all charge. Comment if you have more questions or suggestions.

For each post, I will list 5 resources.

For this post, here are those 5. The theme is for kids 18 and older:

  1. Spectrum for Living in River Vale, NJ.
  • services for adults with developmental disabilities
  • intermediate care facility, barrier-free housing options, adult day programs and case management and respite services (when a family needs break)
  • physical, occupational, speech & dietary therapies.
  • Adult Training Centers. Activities and events are available to the participants including but not limited to; socialization, practical arts, computers, recreation, crafts, music therapy, community integration, sensory integration, clinical and medical services, fine and gross motor skills, reading, and psychological services.

2. Division of Developmental Disabilities (NJ).

  • public funding for services and supportsthat assist New Jersey adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities age 21 and older to live as independently as possible.
  • Can apply when child is 18 but services don’t start until age 21
  • Medicaid-based, fee-for-service (FFS) reimbursement system
  • Supports Program (if eligible include:
  • Assistive Technology
  • Behavior Supports
  • Career Planning
  • Community-Based Supports
  • Day Care
  • Environmental Modifications
  • Interpreter Services
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Personal Emergency Response System (PERS)
  • Physical Therapy
  • Prevocational Training
  • Respite
  • Speech Language & Hearing Therapy
  • Supported Employment – Individual
  • Supported Employment – Small Group
  • Transportation
  • Vehicle Modifications

3. NJ Institute for Disabilities (NJID)

  • one of the largest agencies of its kind in the State
  • affiliated with many colleges including Rutgers, Seton Hall, William Paterson, Kean University
  • partners with associations
  • Residential Services: more than 25 homes and apartments throughout New Jersey which serve both children and adults. Taught life skills like, given 24-hour supervision, given educational, recreational, and social activities, faith-based activities, and each person is encouraged to participate in home life from meal planning and preparation to leisure activities
  • Adult Day Programs: Activities and opportunities are designed to support every person’s choices and potential. All NJID Day Programs are culturally-sensitive and reflect the diversity of the clients who are served. While the services are individualized, the opportunities are limitless. Volunteer experiences for the clients are encouraged as pathways to full inclusion. Given life skills training, recreational activities, nutrition counseling, pre-vocational training, and behavioral support. Nurses and other experts are always on hand. To be eligible for services, adults must be 21 years of age or older and referred by the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).

4. Alliance Center for Independence (ACI)

  • Promotes independent living in Union and other counties
  • Information and referral services
  • Educations programs and activities that promote peer support, health, employment, and independent living skills
  • transition from nursing homes and other institutions
  • Secures appropriate education services. Helps kids ages 15-21 prepare for life after high school: job or college
  • Help apply to Access Link (public transport services)
  • Health care application assistance
  • Fun events like chess club, summer dances, plays in parks
  • Members volunteer in the community
  • Office skills program to improve typing skills, event planning, public speaking, etc.
  • Works with FEMA to bring federal assistance to disabled people during disasters

5. Enable in Princeton, NJ

  • 21 and older
  • Adult day services. Focus on skill development, community inclusion, and participation. A behavior therapist provides behavior supports and interventions at all sites.
  • Prevocational training to help people develop strengths and skills to help make them eligible for employment. Includes helping individuals communicate, follow directions, accomplish tasks, solve problems
  • Community supports include visits to restaurants and stores, learning to cook and do laundry, attending community events, and going to the library or gym
  • Respite: this is a service that gives a caretaker a break. They can be hourly or overnight
  • Transportation: the staff transport the members
  • Other services include: residential services, environmental modifications, and pay assistance
Poems

Woman’s Worst Fear

Heels clicking on hard concrete

swishing of skirt and fabric

dinging of a cell phone

creates illusion of company.

 

Passersby vary though there are few

every male face, male physique

increases my heart rate

makes my muscles taut like a bow.

 

I stay in sight of other people

avoid empty alleys and streets

avoid making eye contact

eye contact attracts men like bees to honey.

 

Men hardly have to worry

worst they might get are broken bones

their muscles were made to fight

it was passed down from our hunter ancestors.

 

Women draw more than muggers and gangsters

there is a worse weapon than a heavy gun

a weapon sharp and long like a knife

draws just as much blood but sinks deeper into body.

 

Kidnapping is not the same for me

neither is owing somebody something

both might demand more than money

might take it by force, without a thought.

 

This fear is what chains women

gives us shorter curfews than boys

discourages us from traveling the world

makes dating and passion more dangerous.

 

Boys are not as chained

they might be mugged but

what are their chances of the worst?

slim to none, though not impossible.

 

It’s unfathomable for us to walk alone

especially in the cold, lonely night

nobody asks a man if they can walk him

to their car or back to their house.

 

We shouldn’t judge books by their covers

but we tense up around muscular men

even if they are men that we know

because, what if?

 

Laws and movements have done so much

but rape and assault are not extinct

men defy the laws or bend them to their will

victims can possibly still be stoned.

 

I admit I sometimes resent men

even my own beloved brother

he never gets asked the same questions

given the same warnings, or at least as much.

 

I resent my brother and father

for fussing over me and other women

I resent them for another reason:

they have every reason to fear.

 

But annoyance comes like a rock

lodging in me and rolling around

I am the one who has to worry about these things,

they mock me by saying they understand.

 

Please don’t be a hypocrite

don’t be a woman who says she fears nothing

don’t be a man who says he understands

don’t pretend women still aren’t hunted.

Book Reviews · Social Justice

Review of “The Way I Used to Be”

This book was extremely heart-wrenching. I actually CRIED. I rarely ever cry over books but this book managed to do it. How pathetic.

Or is it?

This book is about a girl raped by her best friend’s brother Kevin and she doesn’t tell anyone. The book is separated into four years: freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior.

I consider this a social justice book, which I shall talk about in the conclusion of this review.

PROS.

Eden, or Edy, is such a powerful character yet so messed-up, as would be expected of a rape victim. She becomes promiscuous and gains a horrible reputation yet she claims not to care. She has sex with strangers and guys she barely knows in order to get over her fear of sex after the rape, in order to reclaim power. Sometimes she “needs” sex in order to feel something other than numb.

Her relationships with everybody is shattered. She comes to hate her parents, especially Mom, for not seeing that something is wrong, that she was raped. Her mother didn’t give her the chance to say she was raped the morning after the rape, and it doesn’t help that Eden never had a close relationship to her or Dad. She refers to her parents BY THEIR FIRST NAMED eventually (though not to their faces, I think).

Her friendship with Mara is also effed up. She resents Mara for not recognizing that something horrible happened to Edy. She worries Mara with her promiscuous behavior and downer attitude.

Most of all, the relationship with Edy’s brother Caelin is destroyed. Kevin manages to make Caelin think that Edy is still a silly little girl. She hates Caelin for not seeing that Kevin is evil or that something happened. She doesn’t tell Caelin about the rape for fear he won’t believe that his best friend raped his little sister.

The description of Edy’s internal struggles, the PTSD, is so real. I felt like I was in Edy’s shoes, and I could sort of relate because I have anxiety disorder, NOT that I’m comparing anxiety disorder to PTSD or rape trauma. I, too, often feel like curling into myself is a good way to protect myself and get super tense and taut when people touch me, although it’s a million times worse for Edy. I’m amazed and disappointed she managed to let all those guys have sex with her or make out with her.

Every character is complex, including Kevin. He’s charming and good at hiding his true nature. It turns out he suffered something horrible as a child that contributed to his character but is, as one character points out, no excuse for what he did to Edy. Mara at first appears ditzy but eventually becomes more mature than Edy and explores her personality. Every teen character changes through the four years of high school, which is realistic because that’s what high school is about and each year brings something different.

The part where I cried is where Edy loses EVERYBODY. She loses her friendship with Mara and one other person after hurting them. She recalls the rape by Kevin. She truly has nobody and contemplates suicide.

CONS

Some of it was unrealistic, although, to be fair, I’ve never been raped. Her mother’s behavior the morning after the rape that prevents Edy from telling the truth? A little exaggerated, although maybe some people in real life really are that oblivious and dumb. Yes, I called her mom dumb. She deserves it.

Edy soon has no redeeming qualities. She becomes hateful and bratty. However, she was raped and never adequately dealt with the trauma, so I’ll give her that.

 

IN CONCLUSION

5 out of 5 stars for this tear-jerker. I consider this a social justice book for many reasons other than rape. It deals with so many gender issues, such as labeling girls sluts and girls turning against girls. It basically deals with sexism. Male power is explored by how rapists can get away with rape and seek power through rape and how males can be promiscuous but girls can’t. Edy seeks to balance the power by “using” boys like they use girls.

 

Poems

Dominant Cage of Anxiety

Poem

 

Crimson flames rising to my cheeks

Hot blood burning my veins and tissues

Ice, unmelted, slithers down my back

And into the chambers of my heart.

 

This is anxiety.

 

A snake constricting around the heart

Slithering through the stomach

Causing organs to shrink back in fear

Fangs punch a hole in the bladder.

 

Rocks simultaneously appear

Weight down the stomach, the body

Pushing against the sides and organs

Almost ripping through your very skin.

 

Every sense cruelly heightened

People’s eyes can do more than look

Eyes can puncture your skin

Your vulnerabilities spill out like blood.

 

Heart is racing like a feral horse

Like it’s trying to escape the anxiety

But it has nowhere to go or hide

The racing and burn increase tenfold.

 

Body is taut like a bow

Cannot risk any wrong movement

It makes no sense, makes sense at same time

All one can do is talk, if that’s possible.

 

Lips move but they are controlled

Even power of speech is constricted

Body and mind still trying to control

Despite control being totally lost.

 

Food and Drinks

How to Make Butterbeer

Have you ever had butterbeer, the amazingly tasty drink from Harry Potter that’s often served in Hogsmeade? I tried it for the very first time at Potter World at Universal Studios in Orlando Florida and it was incredible. My brother snatched my cup from me and stole my first drink but (after I was done yelling at him) I tasted paradise.

You can have it hot or cold in any cup. At Potter World the cold butterbeer is often served in small plastic cups and you’ll find yourself wanting one or two more! It has some froth at the top and the main tastes are caramel and butterscotch. It is also served at the restaurants in Potter World. There are Butterbeer Carts throughout Potter World.

Anyway, it’s possible to make your own butterbeer if you can’t order it or visit Potter World (go before you die!). My sister helped me find ingredients and recipes online, mainly on Pinterest. My mom and I made it and we didn’t follow it 100% but we got what we wanted.

Here you go:

Ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar

4-5 Werther’s caramels

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

2-3 tablespoons butter

1 liter of cream soda

My mom and I ignored most of the directions of the site we found. We put the liter of cream soda into a pot and let it boil. Then we added everything else in no particular order. However, the caramels went in last. They take FOREVER to melt! You keep stirring so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Stir until you no longer feel or hear the little caramels in the pot.

Then turn the pot off and let it sit, or else you’ll burn your mouth. Then grab a ladle and serve!

It didn’t taste as great as the butterbeer in Orlando. Then again, I didn’t expect it to. I also prefer cold butterbeer. But, maybe, with practice, we can perfect it.

Have you ever tried to make butterbeer or any other Harry Potter beverage? Comment if you have! Maybe we can give each other advice.