“It’s not the girl in the fight; it’s the fight in the girl.”
I cry out when the razor slices my skin, just above my right ear. Blood trickles down my neck. A stain spreads slowly across my lacy, white pajama top. When my head is shaved raw, I stop. A tough girl glares back at me from the mirror.
Nobody understands why Tori has suddenly become so moody and violent. When she attacks a stranger in a store, she ends up doing community service at a shelter for victims of domestic violence. There, she bonds with a little girl named Casey, but when Casey is abducted while in Tori’s care, Tori is racked with guilt, certain that she should have been able to prevent the abduction. During the search for Casey, Tori comes face to face with an ex-boyfriend who sexually assaulted her at a party. Only when she speaks out about the assault is she able to begin to heal.
Download a sample chapter here. Read an interview about Punch Like a Girl by BC author Robin Stevenson on her blog. Read Quill & Quire article “A Delicate Balance: taking on the tough issues in YA fiction,” which discusses Punch Like a Girl.
“Tori is a compelling character with a bruised voice that’s on a fast boil. Is it possible to heal with an open hand rather than a closed fist? You’ll start reading with a pounding heart that doesn’t let up until the last page.”
Teresa Toten, author of The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
“An explosive and addictive story that will grip the reader with suspense from the jabbing first sentences until the end! A compelling, moving and powerfully emotional story! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!”
“Krossing provides a modern version of an age-old story, with a very real, very strong heroine. Tori’s flaws make her believable, while her growth makes her admirable.”
“The first-person present-tense narration gives a sense of immediacy and pulls readers along with the protagonist as she seeks ways to stop feeling helpless in the aftermath of the assault…While comparisons to Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak (Farrar, 1999) are inevitable, Tori’s journey is her own and will provide another option for encouraging necessary discussions on sexual assault.”
School Library Journal
“I love this book. Love isn’t even the right word for it; it seems too shallow. I just have to say that this book is incredible because it raises awareness of a problem in the world that is truly horrible. It teaches girls to fight back, speak out, and be strong.”
Grace D. (age 12), School Library Journal
“Tori’s emergence from trauma is lightly sketched, … making for an easy read about a hard topic, which is no bad thing. Unusually, her coming of age requires not that she stop being violent but that she learn to apply violence appropriately. A fast-paced book about healing through helping others, speaking up and physical self-defense.”
“While Krossing acknowledges the importance of self-defense, the story makes clear that sharing one’s pain is equally important. Tori’s anger is palpable throughout, and her emotional evolution is empowering.”
“Krossing’s novel touches on several themes, including having the strength to speak out against violence, the realities of domestic violence, abduction and learning to heal…. Punch Like a Girl offers readers strong female characters and a positive ending to an otherwise disturbing main plot line.”
“This is a very personal look at the effects of sexual assault on a teenage girl and how she deals with it, an important story to tell. Krossing does a good job telling it from the perspective of the teenage victim.”
“This story begins with a bang. Tori is in distress and her fury simmers throughout the novel…The writing is raw and in your face; as Tori’s issues escalate, the reader tries to keep up. I found myself judging Tori, yet caring about her enough to be curious as to how far she’d go, where her choices would take her… Punch Like a Girl finishes with a punch, leaving the reader satisfied.”
Mable’s Fables Raves & Faves
“The theme of date rape…is a truth that needs to be spoken again and again so women who have had their voices silenced can gain the courage to speak, and know that they’re not alone. I read this wonderfully written novel in one sitting, and couldn’t wait for Tori to speak her truth. Highly recommended for ages 14 and older. Rated 5 stars.”
You Decide: Should I Read It or Not?
“This cast of memorable characters leaves readers with a story that is a powerful testament to loving relationships – with family, friends, and most importantly, ourselves.”
School Library Connection
“Punch Like a Girl provides a riveting, suspenseful, and compelling story that helps readers understand the importance of speaking out, being strong, and fighting back.”
EducationNOW, Center for Educational Improvement
“Krossing’s Punch Like a Girl … delivers a knockout blow to the idea that women who experience sexual violence need to suffer in silence.”