Books to Help Teens Understand the Importance of Consent

"No means no" has become a rallying cry on high school and college campuses, as students and administrators strive to combat and eliminate incidents of sexual assault. Raising consciousness about the importance of consent ("Yes means yes") in sexual encounters is a significant issue -- highlighted by actors, athletes, legislators, office workers, and others coming forward to recount their experiences of sexual harassment and assault by people in positions of power, including movie producers, coaches, and clergy. Many thought-provoking young adult novels address this issue through compelling characters and captivating stories that show what teens go through in the aftermath of an assault and how it affects their relationships with their families and peer groups. They may stay silent and feel shame, speak up and have their stories doubted or ridiculed, or even be blamed for the assault. Check out our list, which is a blend of enduring older titles as well as powerful recent releases. For more strong teen reads, see our lists Coming-of-Age Books and Books for Teens.

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Fighting Words

age 11+

Powerful, moving story of 10-year-old recovering from abuse.

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Girl Made of Stars

age 13+

Gripping story of girl's twin brother accused of rape.

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Just Listen

age 13+

Teen girl struggles following trauma in riveting novel.

By: Sarah Dessen (2006)
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Moxie

age 13+

Empowering story of girls standing up to sexual harassment.

By: Jennifer Mathieu (2017)
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Rules for Being a Girl

age 13+

Teen finds her voice after sexual assault in moving tale.

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Saints and Misfits, Book 1

age 13+

Muslim teen girl stands up to assaulter in empowering tale.

By: S.K. Ali (2017)
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A Step Toward Falling

age 13+

Thoughtful coming-of-ager about looking beneath the surface.

By: Cammie McGovern (2015)
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All the Rage

age 14+

Powerful story about an isolated rape victim's struggles.

By: Courtney Summers (2015)
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Asking for It

age 14+

Haunting, harrowing story of rape, consent, blame, shame.

By: Louise O'Neill (2016)
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Blood Water Paint

age 14+

Teen artist fights rapist in riveting tale of 1610 Rome.

By: Joy McCullough (2018)
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Clap When You Land

age 14+

Moving novel in verse about grief, family, and forgiveness.

By: Elizabeth Acevedo (2020)
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Desert Angel

age 14+

Teen flees mom's killer in gripping thriller.

By: Charlie Price (2011)
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More Than We Can Tell

age 14+

Emotional coming-of-age story tackles abuse, cyberbullying.

By: Brigid Kemmerer (2018)
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Panic

age 14+

Tense tale of teens facing fears to win risky competition.

By: Lauren Oliver (2014)
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Rani Patel in Full Effect

age 14+

Powerful coming-of-age tale deals with abuse, addiction.

By: Sonia Patel (2016)
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The Rumor Game Book Jacket
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The Rumor Game

age 14+

Intense story about the damage caused by cyberbullying.

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Shout

age 14+

Poignant, poetic memoir about healing from sexual assault.

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Speak

age 14+

Controversial book about rape is powerful and painful.

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Speak: The Graphic Novel

age 14+

Hard-hitting tale of sexual assault and its aftermath.

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Thirteen Reasons Why

age 14+

Disturbing suicide novel examines bullying, indifference.

By: Jay Asher (2007)
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