Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Punch Like a Girl

Krossing, Karen (Author)
Orca 2015. 234 pages
First published: 2015
ISBN: 9781459808287 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, dialogue, evocative language, figurative language, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Violence against women and children is cleverly and constructively addressed in this engaging story of 17-year-old Tori’s recovery from her ex-boyfriend’s sexual assault. Anger, fear and a false bravado characterize Tori’s voice as she tries to put the assault behind her in secret, which only makes her feel isolated and aggressive.

A fast-paced plot includes storylines of healthy love relationships among her friends, gender-bending experiments with fashion and a keen eye for social hypocrisies, including double standards of behaviour for men and women: “‘Didn’t we teach you to handle conflict in other ways?’ ‘You did, Mom, but Dad’s been known to throw a punch in his time, and no one made him do community service.’”

New relationships at a women’s shelter offer Tori a chance to help and also heal, while offering readers a broader perspective on her ex-boyfriend’s controlling and violent ways—even while Tori needs more time to process: “You can’t go through this by yourself,” her friend Alena counsels. “‘Why not?’ I echo back. ‘No one came when I screamed.’”

In the end, Tori’s key role in solving a child abduction from the shelter and a showdown with her ex-boyfriend on the night of “anti-prom” offer satisfying avenues for empowerment and recovery, as she learns to speak out against violence and injustice: “There’s more than one way to punch back.”

  •  

    The text offers readers the opportunity to explore the effects of abusive relationships on the victim. Read the opening chapter as a group and discuss how the book is set up in the beginning. Make predictions about how the story will unfold.

  •  

    In small groups, discuss how Tori is characterized initially and return to the topic during reading. Pay attention to the subtle clues Tori offers such as the change in her personality in the opening chapters.

  •  

    Use this as part of a text set that explores issues related to violence in dating relationships. Use a production process to write an expository text such as an opinion piece or article about the topic.

  •  

    In small groups, discuss why you think victims of abuse often remain quiet and choose not to speak of it or seek help. Suggest strategies that will encourage victims to speak out. How and where can they get help?

  •  As you read, look for parallels between Casey and Tori. What experiences and personality traits do they share?
  •  

    The book ends with Tori thinking: “Life is brutal. Horrible things happen to innocent people. But there’s more than one way to punch back.” With a partner, create an awareness campaign about ways that victims of abuse can “punch back.” Include proactive strategies as well.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Personal Development
  • Social Sciences