Book Review: No Shame  

By Anne Cassidy

Published by Hot Key Books

The powerful companion to No Virgin, from the author of the critically acclaimed Looking for JJ, shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2004 and the Carnegie Medal in 2005. 17-year-old Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal – the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .

No Shame is told entirely from Stacey’s perspective and Anne Cassidy clearly understands teenagers, as her voice sounds legitimately that of a 17-year-old girl. She has parents who believed her and are supporting her, a best friend who is supportive but not intrusive and an extraordinarily patient SOIT (Sexual Offences Investigative Trained) Officer to guide her through everything. Faced with upcoming A-level exams and future study decisions, the school is providing her with everything they can without letting her classmates know what happened to her.

The book gives a vivid account of the court proceedings and the ordeal of cross-examination by a barrister, but also highlights the invaluable support given by the SOIT officer throughout proceedings.

No Shame can be read alone – I read it before reading No Virgin – and as a YA/Teen novel this works exceptionally well as a cautionary tale, which may help some girls to come forward about their own experiences of rape. It amply highlights that rape isn’t something that only happens down a dark alley with a stranger and sends the strong “No Means No” message. Anne Cassidy tackles this tricky subject with straight-forward narrative that pulls no punches, yet reflects the thoughts and emotions of the teenage victim.


Review by Susan Elkin