Friday, 11 December 2015

Book Review: Santa; by Nicola Mar

Santa; by Nicola Mar
Publication Date: September 14th, 2015
Format: Physical Book (thanks again, Nicola!)
Spanning the course of several weeks, Santa; details the physical and emotional deterioration of June, a victim of severe bullying after she survives an attack by her classmates. With no one and nothing to trust but faith, she struggles with the idea that the human spirit may not exist.

 * Ten percent of the sales of this book will be donated to Project Semicolon, an organization providing love and support to those who are struggling with depression, self-injury, and suicide. Visit them online at 

(Trigger warning for rape, bulling, and emotional abuse.)

I feel like I've been putting off this review for quite a long while. I don't know why, but I find myself drawn to more psychological books than anything recently. Maybe a part of me kind of hopes that someone understands how something like this subject is? I don't know. I imagine it varies between person to person.

On a school night, June decides to sneak out of her house to go to a party with the help of her friend Alice. I imagine it's because Alice was wanting to encourage June to be more active and have a little fun. After a short while, though, June found herself by herself and incredibly intoxicated. Much more so than she anticipated. But that ended up being the least of her problem.

During the night of the party, she was raped and disrespected by three of her classmates. Eventually, after what must have felt like forever for her, they left her alone as she almost dies choking on her own vomit. A mysterious person moves her but she doesn't know who they are. On the grand scheme of things, it didn't matter too much. After all... she was still left with bruises from the night June will never allow herself to forget.

But she dreams of someone new - a woman who goes by the name 'Santa' and who helps give June a new persona of sorts. This new girl goes by 'Ginger' - and she's everything June aspires to be. Everything that she feels like she's not.

This is an emotionally charged story and, due to this, not everyone can handle reading this. It's not because it's a horrible book... but because it handles sensitive issues by describing them straight out rather than saving only the necessary details. This story is about a teenager who gets bullied for her weight and, after one night, found herself conflicted within her own mind on what she should do as a result. Should she report this to proper authorities? But what if there wasn't enough proof for them to believe her, let alone enough proof to bring the teenage boys to justice? How does she know if its really rape when she never really said 'no'?

I know there were many times where I wondered why June never really reported the incident to anyone save for her best friend Alice. I remember just mentally screaming, 'Just tell someone before things get worse!', but... what if someone in that position just never really thought it wouldn't make a difference? Even reported, most rapists walk away scot free, which would make anyone wonder... is it even worth it?

I've never been in June's position before but, being familiar with bullying, I never really gave much thought to actually reporting anyone for it. In all honesty, I thought reporting them would make it that much more worse for me. It didn't help that I never felt comfortable with authoritative figures growing up. I wasn't a horrible teenager - I just always felt uncomfortable. Even counselors/ psychologists still make me incredibly nervous. So even if I did have a friend like Alice, who encouraged June to report the attack on her that night, I don't think I'd be willing to talk about it either. It's a truly uncomfortable subject to talk about.

Maybe, one day, this issue can be talked about this openly. I hope that, one day, it'll never be an issue ever again.


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