“What happens next” Colleen Clayton

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). To be published October 9, 2012. Poppy (Little, Brown and Company). 310 pp.

Sixteen-year-old Sid expected to have a great time on her school’s weekend ski trip. Unfortunately, she didn’t know how to ski. When she met Dax, a handsome older guy who seemed to really like her, she decided to sneak out to meet him for a party. However, when she woke up the next morning, she couldn’t remember anything that had happened. Gradually she realized that she had been drugged and raped. In her efforts to forget what had happened she lied, shut everyone out of her life, became obsessed with running at all hours of the night and day so she could lose weight and redo herself, stopped eating, and became bulimic.

When her life was threatening to spiral out of control, she met Corey. “Stoner Guy” had been arrested in the past, and was someone to fear, but Sid found him to be funny and caring. Despite her feelings for him, and the passage of time, she still couldn’t bring herself to tell him or anyone else what had happened. With her secret slowly destroying her, it was only a matter of time before things took a turn for the worse.

In Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak,” Melinda couldn’t talk about what happened when she was raped and, instead, expressed herself through art. In “What happens next” Sid also couldn’t speak about her rape and expressed herself through running and purging herself of food to rid her mind from thinking. Both are important novels to have in high school and public libraries, as they show similar ways of young teens dealing with losing an important part of themselves, and could be used as anchors towards reality for those going through similar circumstances. “What happens next” helps them realize life can go on.


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