Excellent contemporary read dealing with justice, identity

Punch Like a Girl - Karen Krossing

I almost put this book down in the first quarter or so, because it starts out with a teenage girl getting violent as a way to cope with a traumatic experience that she's had (that isn't explained until the end of the book), and while I could understand and empathize with her feelings, it seemed like it was glorifying violence from a sort of feminist equality position.


I'm glad I kept reading, though, because the author did an excellent job of telling the story through the perspective of the teenage MC, and having her naturally progress to a different perspective by wrestling through potential approaches.


There's surprising dimension to this story, given that it's a pretty quick read. The MC's relationships with her friends, teammates, sibling and parents, and ex-boyfriend are all explored and developed. She volunteers (as community service) at a women's shelter with the children, and a situation there helps her grow and deepen her understanding of how to seek justice. Mildly spoilery, but the resolution manages to bring balance to her perspective, allowing that different approaches are necessary in different situations, and doubling down on the redemptive nature of meaningful relationships. 


Possible trigger warnings on sexual assault, physical and emotional abuse of women and children. Some violence and language; I'd rate this as PG for preteens and kids (but well worth a read if your kid is ready or if you want to co-read and talk through the ideas) and totally ok for teens 14+. This would be a great book for classrooms to teach through as well. Extremely well done (as many of the Orca Books titles).