Monday 6 March 2023

The Luis Ortega Survival Club

The Luis Ortega Survival Club by Sonora Reyes (HarperCollins Children’s Books) PB RRP $19.99

It’s difficult for Ariana Ruiz to be noticed, but as an autistic girl who never talks, she goes largely ignored by her peers despite her bold fashion choices. So, when cute, popular Luis starts to pay attention to her, Ari finally feels seen.

Luis’s attention soon turns to something more and they have sex at a party—while Ari didn’t say no, she didn’t say yes. Before she has a chance to process what happened and decide if she even has the right to be mad at Luis, the rumour mill begins churning thanks, she’s sure, to Luis’s ex-girlfriend, Shawni. Boys at school now see Ari as an easy target, someone who won’t say no.

Then Ari finds mysterious notes in her locker which eventually leads her to an unlikely group of students determined to expose Luis for the predator he is. To her surprise, she finds genuine friendship among the group, including her growing feelings for the very last girl she expected to fall for. But to take Luis down, she’ll have to come to terms with the truth of what he did to her that night—and risk everything to see justice done.

At the start of this YA novel, the author writes: ‘Please note that this book deals with issues of bullying, slut shaming, rape culture, sexual harassment, and the aftermath of off-page rape. I have done my best to depict these topics with care and sensitivity. If these are difficult subjects for you, please take care of yourself and know that your mental and emotional well-being come first.’

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