ONE OF SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL's BEST BOOKS OF 2022
In You Ruined It, Anastasia Higginbotham, acclaimed author of Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness, sheds light on the confusion and pain that many children feel in the aftermath of incest and sexual assault.
When 11-year-old Dawn discloses that a favorite cousin sexually assaulted her, it's hard to tell what hurts more: the betrayal or the fall-out. After all, everyone always says to tell someone, but does this mean she'll never get to hang out with him again? What if he goes to jail?
And the biggest question of all: How will she know if she can trust someone again?
You Ruined It is a testament to a child's experience of a confusing betrayal, her broken heart, and the loved ones who help her piece it back together.
I wish I had this magical brave book when I was young and being abused. So beautifully rendered and carefully told. May it inspire anyone caught in childhood sexual abuse to tell their story and get free. —V (formerly EVE ENSLER), award-winning playwright and author of bestsellers The Vagina Monologues and The Apology
ANASTASIA HIGGINBOTHAM es autora e ilustradora de El divorcio es lo peor, La muerte es tonta, Explícame que es el sexo, Abuela y el best seller internacional Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness—todos parte de la serie de Ordinary Terrible Things. Vive en Brooklyn. A los bibliotecarios les encanta, pero no tanto como a ella le encantan.
A heartbreaking but realistic account of a child’s life soon after a sexual assault by a trusted family member. The story is seamlessly woven into a series of journal entries and scrapbook pages, and the author thoughtfully examines the complicated emotions children may feel after going through such trauma. Filled with curriculum connections to poetry and life science, as well as year-round activities, this book has plenty to offer students and teachers. —SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNALUnlike many other books dealing with difficult, traumatic subjects, Higginbotham’s work offers no advice, punishment, or easy answers. Instead, You Ruined It is a book about care—and the way that care may invite healing rather than demand it. —BITCH magazine[A] searing, sensitive portrayal of sexual assault...The focus on the aftermath allows Higginbotham to examine the complicated feelings Dawn has toward her abuser, as well as the layers of trauma for both her and her family members. The collage artwork...brings a sense of believable messiness and compassionate intimacy to Dawn’s first-person narration. A wealth of additional front and back matter guides readers with questions, resources, and support; while obviously useful in a therapeutic setting, this could also offer insight to kids with friends who have been assaulted.—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's BooksI wish I had this magical brave book when I was young and being abused. So beautifully rendered and carefully told. May it inspire anyone caught in childhood sexual abuse to tell their story and get free. —V (formerly EVE ENSLER), award-winning playwright and author of bestsellers The Vagina Monologues and The ApologyYou Ruined It is a springboard for so many conversations that can add to the primary as well as the secondary prevention perspective as these children work hard to pick up the pieces. Kudos for tackling this. —INGRID WALKER-DESCARTES, child abuse pediatrician
You Ruined It left me speechless. Written from the inside out, it perfectly addresses one of the most complex (and all too common) issues in childhood trauma with bravery and exquisite sensitivity. As a therapist, I bow to Higginbotham's artistry and her deep understanding of incest and the confusion that ensues when a beloved family member violates your body and your trust. I know this book will help children feel understood and less alone—and adults who have had this kind of trauma will experience profound healing from reading it as well. —LISA SPIEGEL, co-founder of Soho Parenting
As a writer, a teacher and a mother, I’m grateful to Anastasia for taking the lives of kids seriously. As with all her extraordinary books, Anastasia creates a rare, invaluable space for the complex experiences and feelings of childhood. Dawn’s pain and sadness are balanced so tenderly with love and belief; she is both broken and brave; an unlikely superhero and also an intensely confused kid. A gift to caregivers and children alike to know her story and hear her voice....Unlike anything I have ever read. —KATIE CAPPIELLO, author of Slut: The Play and Now That We're Men