Jenna’s just a teenager who wants to fit in. But popularity turns to infamy when two “friends” spark a controversy that alters her life forever. Can she discover Jenna’s Truth before it’s too late?
Amanda Todd was a Canadian school girl, who decided to make new friends over the internet. Using video chat, she was convinced to post topless for a stranger, who took screenshots of the moment and circulated them online. Several years of torment for Todd followed, causing her anxiety, depression and panic disorder, leading her to begin using drugs and alcohol. The individual who had taken the screenshots then started a new Facebook profile which used the topless photograph, and purposely contacted classmates of Amanda at her new school. Despite Todd moving schools several times, her online assailant pursued her, ensuring that all of her new classmates saw the image, as well as some teachers and parents. After suicide attempts, self mutilation and counseling, Amanda Todd took her own life on October 2012, aged just 15.
Inspired by Amanda Todd’s tragic story, author Nadia L. King has written “Jenna’s Truth” – a moving tale that explores the far reaching consequences bullying can take, and puts the reader firmly into the mindset of a teenager. At 6,000 words, it’s kept short in order to be easily read by those with dyslexia, aids comprehension and developing vocabulary, and contains discussion questions and recommended activities, making this both an excellent read, but also a great classroom tool for those aged 15-16.
It’s all very well and good to add curriculum activities and teaching aids to a book, but can only be successful if the book they back up is well written, and thankfully author Nadia L.King excels here. Despite only being a short read, Nadia has created a three dimensional and hugely relatable character in Jenna. Even though it’s been some considerable time since I was a teenager, the feelings of isolation, loneliness and confusion that the teenage years are full of, are brilliantly conveyed here, and whilst I was never bullied to any great extent, and thankfully went to school in a time before social media, empathy for Jenna is easy to find. The messages conveyed here are strong and powerful, and whilst the book does get dark and quite tough to read at points, the reader is left with a strong sense of hope, and I think there’s a genuine chance that the events explored in this book could help children going forward, to avoid finding themselves in a situation like Jenna’s, and also to avoid causing situations like Jenna’s to come about too. Definitely worth a read, especially for those of Jenna’s age, or for those with children of high school age.