Pledge, Deanna. When Something Feels Wrong: A Survival Guide about Abuse for Young People. Free Spirit, 2000. ISBN 978-1575421155 200 pp $
Five million teens were reported abused in the year 2000; an estimated 1,200 died from some form of abuse or neglect. These horrifically high numbers indicate this is a self-help book for all teens to use as a guide to get safe, or how to help someone they know get out of an abusive situation, be it sexual, physical, emotional, or plain neglect.
Psychologist and counselor Deanna Pledge clearly defines each type of abuse, including abuse by peers, and follows up with a question and answer section. The next third of the book is about taking action, how and when to tell, who to turn to, and what to expect, while the final chapters focus on healing.
Sensitive topics are handled with delicacy. The language is carefully technical, to be as non-threatening as possible. Statistics combine with personal remarks from teens who have been there to show readers that they are not alone. Writing exercises at the end of each chapter offer outlets for emotion, while affirmations promote well-being.
Above all, Pledge stresses that abuse can happen to anyone, no one deserves to have it happen to him or her, and if it does happen you are not at fault. It is a hopeful book too, in spite of its intense subject matter. Many teens got out of abusive situation, and so can other readers. This book is an excellent start to the healing process and is a valuable resource that should be made available in all secondary school and public libraries.