Asking For It
Written by Louise O’Neill; Published by Quercus and Hachette Book Group, 2016. 317 pp. $16.99 hb. Contemporary Fiction.
Award: 2017 Printz Honor Book
Review: Eighteen year old Emma has it all; beauty, brains, and the rest of her life ahead of her. One night Emma goes out with her friends and the next morning she wakes up a mess on the front steps of her home. She cannot remember what happened the night before, and goes to school as normal. Her usual group of girlfriends are hesitant to speak to her and soon photos of her naked body surface on Facebook that show Emma passed out and without clothing. Emma is ashamed but continues to go to school claiming that she had too much to drink, but it is soon revealed that Emma was passed out while several boys sexually assaulted her. The police are soon involved because of the photos and suddenly Emma is the talk of the town. The police press charges against the boys and suddenly Emma becomes an outcast and people are cruel to her. What’s disheartening is how Emma began to waste away and had no motivation for life beyond the confines of her home. Emma doesn’t stand up for herself which makes her situation so real because many women and girls end up like Emma. Emma’s parents also fail to comfort and support their daughter and the only champion she has is her older brother. This is highly recommended as a book that will engage students thinking and talking about rape, an issue that happens in our society every hour of the day.
Grade level: 9 +
Rating: Highly Recommended
Byline: Jaimie Davis, Graduate Student, School Library Science Program, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA.
Teaching Ideas (5)
#Teaching Idea 1: Book or Movie Trailer
- Activity: Students will make their own book trailer or movie trailer to introduce the novel using a video tool. Students may select from the following video tools: Animoto, Adobe Spark, Powtoon, Sharalike, Stupeflix, or WeVideo. If a student has a preference for use of a different video tool, he or she must receive permission from the teacher. Students will work in groups to create either a book or movie trailer. For the movie trailer, students will be assigned roles to direct, act, and produce the video. The trailer must include audio (voice over and music), and scene changes and transitions. The classroom teacher will collaborate with the librarian to provide students lessons on how to use the web-based video tools to create their video. The Librarian will give students a tutorial of all the video tools and student groups will determine the best tool for their presentation. Students are not permitted to depict any violence or act out a violent scene in the trailer. Students will need to collaborate as a team to produce the final product. The final products will be presented in the school library computer lab.
12.1 The student will make a formal oral presentation in a group or individually.
a) Choose the purpose of the presentation.
b) Choose vocabulary, language, and tone appropriate to the audience, topic, and
c) Use details, illustrations, statistics, comparisons, and analogies to support the
d) Use media, visual literacy, and technology skills to create and support the
e) Use grammatically correct language, including vocabulary appropriate to the
topic, audience, and purpose.
f) Collaborate and report on small group learning activities.
g) Evaluate formal presentations including personal, digital, visual, textual, and
h) Use a variety of listening strategies to analyze relationships among purpose,
audience, and content of presentations.
i) Critique effectiveness of presentations.
#Teaching Idea 2: Double Entry Response Journal
- Activity: Good readers make connections to text as they read, so for this assignment students as students read the novel, they will be required to make at least two-three connection/responses to each chapter. In the left column, students will record events, situations or quotes from the novel that they can relate or react to. In the right column, they will record their connections/reactions to make a connection between the text and themselves (text-to self), another text (text-to-text), or the world (text-to-world). Students will also be required to share their reaction to the connection by writing down how it makes them feel and why. The teacher will model for students how to complete the Double Entry response journal by using the first and second chapter as an example. The teacher will use a document camera so that students can see in real-time the teacher’s event, situation, quote, connection, and the reaction to the text connection. Opportunities for collaboration include the librarian showing students how to use digital reference materials to search for related non-fiction articles that relate to the topics in the novel and using the Double Entry Journal to respond to the non-fiction articles and the novel.
#Teaching Idea 3: Debate the Issue: Was She Asking For It?
- Activity: The teacher and the librarian will collaborate on the debate. Students will debate the issue: Was Emma Asking for it?
- Students will be assigned as either Yes, or No. The debate position may not be a reflection of a student’s personal opinion, however students are expected to develop a well-thought out argument that demonstrates his or her knowledge of the facts and information presented in the novel. Students will go to the library and will research rape. The library may have pre-printed information because the school internet filters may not permit students to access websites and sources on rape. The librarian will provide students with statistical data they they may utilize to write their argument for the debate. The teacher and librarian will discuss rhetorical strategies that students may use to accomplish their purpose. Students will be required to cite sources and will receive a review lesson in the library on how to cite their sources. Students will write a position paper in preparation for the debate. Students will see the librarian for assistance as needed for research.
- The final product will be a fishbowl debate that students will have prepared for in advance. The librarian will use Padlet to give students a place to post their opinions on the topic leading up to the debate. Students will be able to post comments and questions on Padlet.
- The debates will be recorded and students will all be required to participate.
12.6 a) Generate, gather, and organize ideas for writing to address a specific audience
b) Produce arguments in writing that develop a thesis to demonstrate knowledgeable
judgments, address counterclaims, and provide effective conclusions.
c) Clarify and defend a position with precise and relevant evidence.
d) Adapt content, vocabulary, voice, and tone to audience, purpose, and situation.
e) Use a variety of rhetorical strategies to accomplish a specific purpose.
f) Create arguments free of errors in logic and externally supported.
#Teaching Idea 4: Research Paper
The teacher and the librarian will collaborate for this lesson to have students research one of the following topics: self-esteem, self-image, rape, . The librarian will give students a lesson on how to use the digital reference resources and materials, and how to cite sources using either MLA or APA. Students will sign up for their research topic. Students will work in small groups based on the sign up sheet for their topic. The librarian will have stations for each of the research topics that students will explore depending on the topic that they have for their research paper. Each student will type a 4-5 page well-researched paper on the topic they signed up for. Students will present their research information along with the other students that also selected the same topic. Presentations will require a audio or visual element and students will collaborate for the final presentation. The final presentations will take place in the library.
12.8 The student will write documented research papers.
a) Use technology as a tool to research, organize, evaluate, and communicate
b) Frame, analyze, and synthesize information to solve problems, answer questions,
and generate new knowledge.
c) Critically evaluate the accuracy, quality, and validity of the information.
d) Synthesize information to support the thesis and present information in a logical
e) Cite sources for both quoted and paraphrased ideas using a standard method of
documentation, such as that of the Modern Language Association (MLA) or the
American Psychological Association (APA).
f) Revise writing for clarity, depth of information, and technique of presentation.
g) Edit writing for language, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, syntax, and
paragraphing as appropriate for standard English.
h) Define the meaning and consequences of plagiarism and follow ethical and legal
guidelines for gathering and using information.
#Teaching Idea 5: Take Action Against an Injustice Public Service Announcement
After completing their reading of Asking For It, Students will work with a partner to discuss the implications of rape in today’s society. The teacher and the librarian will collaborate on this lesson to provide students will information about various ways that rape occurs (acquaintance rape or date rape, drug facilitated sexual assault, age-related rape, incest, partner rape etc.). After outlining the various types of rape, the librarian will explain to students that they will use a provided graphic organizer to rotate between the stations to learn about the different types of rape through informational stations. Students will get an understanding of different types of rape to help them create the PSA. Once student groups have information about all the types and forms of rape, the teacher/and or librarian will assign students a group to begin putting their information together for their PSA. Students will return to the library the next day to review the information from the stations. In groups, students will chart out an action plan of how to challenge the injustice and violation of rape. Each plan must answer the following questions: What is rape? Where might you get information or support? What action can you take? What do people need to know to stop this from happening? Students will compile their information to create a Public Service Announcement Commercial. The librarian will give students a lesson on how to create a video or presentation and students will create a visual presentation for their PSA. Each Public Service Announcement that follows the requirements will be broadcast on the school television channel.
12.2 The student will examine how values and points of view are included or excluded
and how media influences beliefs and behaviors.
a) Evaluate sources including advertisements, editorials, blogs, Web sites, and other
media for relationships between intent, factual content, and opinion.
b) Determine the author’s purpose and intended effect on the audience for media
1- Yorkey, B. , Gomez, S., Asher, J. (2017). Th1rteen R3asons Why. Netflix. – This is the Netflix television series of the novel by Jay Asher, it depicts the novel Th1rteen R3asons. Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide. The viewer rating is MA- Only, This title presents a side of a controversial issue that students can analyze as they develop their skills in critical analysis and making informed judgments in their daily lives.
2- Eagle Boys Ranch. (2017). Teenagers and Rape. Eagle Ranch Troubled Teen Support Resources. Retrieved from http://www.eagleboysranch.com/Teenagers-And-Rape.php. – The information provided outlines what teens and parents can do about this issue that effects and plagues many teens. This exploration provides support to the issue of rape.
3- – Georgetown Law. (2016). Helping a friend that has been sexually assaulted. Retrieved from https://www.law.georgetown.edu/campus-life/advising-counseling/personal-counseling/sarvl/helping-a-friend-that-has-been-sexually-assaulted.cfm This information provides information for how to help a friend that has been sexually assaulted. This exploration provides information on how to support a friend that has been raped. Students would be able to critically think about how Emma’s friends could have done differently to support her after her sexual assault.
4- Chbosky, S., Halfon, L., Smith, R, and Malkovich, J. (2012). The Perks of being a wallflower. [film] Mr. Mudd. Summit Entertainment. This film is about a boy that suffers from depression, has recently been discharged from a mental institution and is trying to assimilate into life as a normal everyday teenage boy. There are many dark reasons why Charlie has the issues he has which includes getting sexually abused by his aunt when he was a young boy. This exploration helps students gain awareness of our pluralistic society to know and understand that woman are not the only victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse.
5- Guardian, The. (2016). Asking For it: horrific but oh so incredibly important to read. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2016/apr/10/asking-for-it-louise-oneill-review – This article or blog post about Asking For it discusses how the novel, though a heart-breaking read, is a reflection of reality. This partner source reinforces how Asking For it contributes to the instructional objectives of the issue the novel confronts.
6- Gilmartin, S. (2015, September 5). Asking for It, by Louise O’Neill: brave, clever, provocative but relentless. Irish Times. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/asking-for-it-by-louise-o-neill-brave-clever-provocative-but-relentless-1.2340446. This partner source reinforces how Asking For it contributes to the instructional objectives of the issue the novel confronts.
7- Crawley, P. (2016) Asking For It TV review: starting the conversation on consent. Irish Times. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/tv-radio-web/asking-for-it-tv-review-starting-the-conversation-on-consent-1.2851903- In this article, Crawley discusses how Louise O’Neill explores Ireland’s rape culture in a Reality Bites documentary. This exploration is relevant to today’s world and widens the range on the issue that the author of Asking For It writes about in her novel.
1– The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith- This partner title would present another side of rape so that students have the opportunity to critically analyze how rape comes in different forms and effects people emotionally and is a issue that needs to be discussed and have awareness raised.
2- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher- This partner title also has a main character that is raped, and it also deals with why the main character or narrator that committed suicide. This partner title presents a different side of a controversial issue and would give students an opportunity to develop their skills in critical analysis.
3- The List by Siobhan Vivian- This partner title is about a teenage girl that struggles with self-esteem issues, identity, and suffers from worrying about the opinions of her peers. This partner title represents a different perspective of awareness of our society and is relevant to today’s world.
4- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson- The main character in this novel was raped by an upperclassman and since she told, she has become an outcast in her school. This partner title is representative of how people respond in society.
5- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This novel is about a boy that suffers from depression, has recently been discharged from a mental institution and is trying to assimilate into life as a normal everyday teenage boy. There are many dark reasons why Charlie has the issues he has which includes getting sexually abused by his aunt when he was a young boy. This exploration helps students gain awareness of our pluralistic society to know and understand that woman are not the only victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse.
Anderson, L.A. (1999). Speak. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Asher, J. (2007/2011) Th1rteen R3asons Why. New York, NY: Razorbill/ Penguin.
Chbosky, S. (1999) The Perks of Being a Wallflower. New York, NY: Pocketbooks.
Crawley, P. (2016) Asking For It TV review: starting the conversation on consent. Irish Times. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/tv-radio-web/asking-for-it-tv-review-starting-the-conversation-on-consent-1.2851903
Eagle Boys Ranch. (2017). Teenagers and Rape. Eagle Ranch Troubled Teen Support Resources. Retrieved from http://www.eagleboysranch.com/Teenagers-And-Rape.php
Georgetown Law. (2016). Helping a friend that has been sexually assaulted. Retrieved from https://www.law.georgetown.edu/campus-life/advising-counseling/personal-counseling/sarvl/helping-a-friend-that-has-been-sexually-assaulted.cfm
Gilmartin, S. (2015, September 5). Asking for It, by Louise O’Neill: brave, clever, provocative but relentless. Irish Times. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/books/asking-for-it-by-louise-o-neill-brave-clever-provocative-but-relentless-1.2340446.
Guardian, The. (2016). Asking For it: horrific but oh so incredibly important to read. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2016/apr/10/asking-for-it-louise-oneill-review
Mardis, M. (2015). The collection program in schools: concepts and practices (6th ed). Santa Barbara, CA: Libraries Unlimited.
O’Neill, L. (2016). Asking for It. New York, NY: Hatchette Book Group.
Smith, A. (2016). The Way I Used to Be. New York, NY: Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Vivian, S. (2013). The List. New York, NY: Scholastic.
Yorkey, B. and Gomez, S. (2017). Th1rteen R3asons Why. Netflix.