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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.