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REVIEW: Barren

Barren - Elizabeth Miceli



Recommended for ages 16+. Includes scenes that depict drug use, self-harm, teen sexual situations, and sexual assault.

This book contains mature content and depiction of a seventeen-year-old girl’s rape at the hands of another student. It is a chilling, first-hand fictional account of an incident – the likes of which occurs across the country at parties just like the one depicted in this story - and one we wanted to feel as raw and as devastating as incidents which occur in real life. We also understand that these scenes may be difficult and uncomfortable for some. We recommend this novel for readers ages sixteen and older.

“I cried, praying for him to finish. I closed my eyes and tried to envision myself somewhere else… somewhere where I was happy. I thought of my family all piled around our tree on Christmas morning. I thought of singing with my band. I thought of Caitlin and me baking cookies and watching movies together. But after just a few seconds of pretending, Mike would hit me or thrust deeper, and I would be back in reality. I was being raped. I was all alone. I was a damsel in distress. And there was no one there to save me.”


My Thoughts

3 Hearts/5: A Good Book

3/5 Sensuality Rating: There is sex, but not explicit.




Barren, oh my god, what a book of emotions.


In this full novel we met Stacey, she’s in high school and has a typical high school experience of boys, friends, drugs, insecurities and whatever else comes along with being a teenager. A teenager especially in this day and age.


* Warning this book does have trigger warnings


Stacey has been through a lot. She’s going through changes from the beginning of the book and she has her problems like almost every teenage girl. She has her ups and downs and reading through what happened to her was hard. Stacey was trying to find her way, trying to find out who she is and why a guy who she really likes doesn’t like her. Why was she raped? She had normal questions, like was it her fault, did she do something, wear something too slutty?


Stacey had problems, on top of problems and high school was the least of them. After a while though the throwing up stopped and she now developed cutting her self, another problem developed after the rape. And  lets not forget that Stacey would sleep with anything that would show her any kind of attention. I was literally screaming at Stacey for most of the book because of her decisions. I mean I get her decisions, Stacey had demons, big bad ass demons but still, I felt bad for her.


Boys, I felt should have been the last thing from her mind. Instead it was like she drowned herself in them. In the first half of the book, there were maybe two love interests and by the 50% point there was a new boy like every chapter. All these boys from school, all these boys calling her pretty but of course she doesn’t see it because of her insecurities. All these boys wanting a little more from Stacey who can’t deliver because she’s not their mentally and emotionally.


Physically Stacey is experimenting heavily with sex. All these new, mixed emotions since the guy who raped her took her virginity. All these feelings she had to work through by herself and I get how scary that would be for her.


What I didn’t like with this book is that Stacey told many of her peers that she was raped and no one really tried to push her to talk to someone. No one pushed her to report what happened. Maybe this Mike does that at every party he goes to then disappears. Even her best friend and everyone else around her acted like this wasn’t a big deal. News flash, Rape is a very big deal and this book, Stacey and her friends pushed it under the carpet. 


I mean no one out of all the twenty people that she informed of what happened, mentioned anything about her reporting it. That just confused my brain. The only reaction she got was her band members who said that they would find him and kill him. And Stacey was content with her band members hypothetically stringing Mike by his dick and beating him.


And then don’t get me started on Devan. I don’t know why Stacey liked him, he was an asshole and even after she told him what happened and they kissed, I thought okay…. But then he takes her to this house party, gets Stacey drugged up, drunk, then leads her into a backwards room and commands her to go down on him. Like are you kidding!?


And since Stacey has no sense of self worth, she does it. I was so livid at that point. Oh and Devan, the shit face, asshole was the only guy, or only person out of the 100 people who knew and told her that she should get help. But once again he said it in such an ass hole way, that even I felt really bad for her. He showed barely any compassion for her situation.


This book gives you a lot of drama and keeps you interested enough. Like for me, I wanted to know if there was light at the end of this long, long, dark tunnel. Was Stacey gonna wake up and realize her mistakes? Was she finally gonna talk to someone? I thought maybe her sister would find out and force her to talk to a therapist and get her help. I mean I was begging the author to give me something and then one of Stacey’s boyfriends die. 

Near the end Stacey finally tells someone who will do something about everything and that is her mother. Mother’s know best. And then I guess we’re kind of fast forwarded to a time and place where everything is semi-okay. Stacey is going to a therapist and she has finally chosen one guy and is settling down.


It would have been nice to actually see her changing, verses the author telling us that she has changed. I think the book would have had a bigger impact for me.   

Stacey dealt with a lot of serious triggers that a lot of girls deal with in real life. The friends didn’t take certain situations that serious, except for Devan… maybe.

Don’t hold it in, talk to someone!


Below are some recent resources for victims and survivors of college sexual assault.


Organization: PACT5
Documentary: The Hunting Ground
PSA: Till It Happens to You with Lady Gaga
PSA: It’s On Us: One Thing

Enough is Enough: New York State legislation on college campus assaults

* I received this book in an exchange for an honest review



Source: http://slbookreviews.tumblr.com/post/131279934686/review-barren-by-xomisslizzi-hosted-by