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I’m In a Bad Romance: Building a display with ya lit about abusive relationships, a guest post by Cindy

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

In February 2013, I put together a books display called Bad Romance. It was a play on the Lady Gaga song. I wanted to exhibit books that had abusive or unhealthy relationships. I also wanted to put out information for teens that were in these kinds of relationships. The books focused on physical and emotionally abusive relationships and also included books about stalking and kidnapping.

Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.

My “go to” book about abusive relationships is always Dreamland by Sarah Dessen. I read it when I was in high school and it was really powerful. I could feel the pain Caitlinwas in and still remember wanting to help her. 

Other titles that have abusive relationships include Stay by Deb Caletti, Rage: A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters, Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn, Bitter End by Jennifer Brown, Don’t Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala, and But I Love Him by Amanda Grace. 
I did also include books such as Stolen by Lucy Christopher about stalking and kidnapping and Twilightas well because of the stalking elements in the book.

One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence.
This display was very popular and most of the books showcased were checked out.

One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.
To help teens involved in abusive relationships, I included the phone number for the Domestic Abuse Hotline. Also, included in the display were some of our nonfiction collection books dealing with abusive relationships that gave suggestions on how to get out of an unhealthy relationship.

Cindy Shutts is the Teen Services Librarian at the White Oak Library District in IL. You can follow her on Twitter at .


  1. This is a great display idea, and one I am going to put up for the last two weeks in February.

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