by Marilyn Reynolds

When her neighbor touches her where she doesn’t want to be touched, twelve year-old Cassie is confused and frightened. What should she do? Where can she turn? A story that happens all too often to young girls, Cassie learns how to stand up for herself, seek help, and rebuild her life.

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160 pages

ISBN  978-1-929777-08-2

Grades 7-10

Reading level: 4.2

Lexile count: 730

AR: 6.0 IL: UG  BL: 4.2

An ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers

Telling has also been translated into Chinese (not available through New Wind Publishing).


I can’t talk about what he’s been doing to me.

“You’re a tough kid to catch alone. You know I won’t hurt you.”

He groped for the buttons on my jeans, trying to undo them.

“Let me go,” I gasped.

Reviews:Wilson Library Bulletin wrote:

Reynolds competently presents the many complex motivations of all participants… As Young Adult readers easily relate to Cassie’s story, they will effortlessly learn from her experience.

National Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Parenting and Prevention wrote:

Wonderful novel for every church, every junior high and high school library, and every English class… important literature for all teenagers. Highly recommended.

School Library Journal wrote:

In this frank, yet sensitive portrayal of child molestation, Reynolds has done a superb job of weaving the complexities of difficult issues into the life of an innocent child. The characters are believable and sympathetic, especially Cassie and her adolescent friends. Even when faced with such ugliness in her life, she can still occasionally giggle about boys, pass notes in English class, and have pillow fights with her best friend. Her story resonates with authenticity, and it will surely touch many readers.

Booklist wrote:

Non-sensational yet specific, this well-written book explores the conflicting emotions of both an early adolescent who cannot fathom why an adult male would find her attractive and parents who must face the difficulty of protecting their daughter while exposing a dangerous individual. A sad, frightening, ultimately hopeful, and definitely worthwhile purchase.

Midwest Book Review wrote:

One of the most realistic accounts available of the dilemma posed by sexual abuse of a minor is presented in this fine true-life story which chronicles a young pre-teen's confusion when an admired neighbor approaches her.

Readers wrote:

I have been through sexual abuse with my stepfather and your book about telling just helped me realize that I had to tell. . . what happened —C.G.

I recently finished reading your book Telling. I wanted to get in contact with you, to say Thank You, for writing this book. I simply wish I would have read it earlier so when I was a victim, I would have known what to do. Your book, spoke to me. When I read your book, I felt so much pain for Cassie. I find out on August 31 what sentence my assaulter will face. That day, I will be free from the chains he attached to me so long ago.

I know that if I would have seen this book when I was eleven, when the same thing was happening to me, I might have had the courage to tell someone before it went too far. Your book gives a helping hand to all the hurting girls out there . . . and helps parents confront this issue to help the daughters get through their ordeals.—Anonymous

About the Author

Marilyn Reynolds is the author of eleven books of realistic teen fiction: Telling, Shut Up, No More Sad Goodbyes, If You Loved Me, Love Rules, Baby Help, But What About Me?, Beyond Dreams, Too Soon for Jeff Detour for Emmy, and Eddie's Choice all part of the popular and award-winning True-to-Life Series from Hamilton High. Marilyn is also the author of a book for educators, I Won’t Read and You Can’t Make Me: Reaching Reluctant Teen Readers, and a collection of essays, Over 70 and I Don’t Mean MPH. Her newest book is a memoir, 'Til Death or Dementia Do Us Part (2017) available from River Rock Books. She has a variety of published personal essays to her credit, and was nominated for an Emmy for the ABC Afterschool Special teleplay of Too Soon for Jeff.

Ms. Reynolds worked with reluctant learners and teens in crises at a southern California alternative high school for thirty years. She remains actively involved in education through author presentations to middle and high school students ranging from struggling readers to highly motivated writers who are interested in developing work for possible publication.

In the introduction to her book on techniques to help reluctant readers (I Won’t Read and You Can’t Make Me), Marilyn writes: “Over time I came to realize that the greatest gift I could give  to my students, many of whom would have no formal schooling after they left [high school], was the gift of a reading habit. Silent reading time became the backbone of my program.” She quotes a study in the the Los Angeles Times reporting that the single most significant factor in determining a person’s success in life is whether they read for pleasure.

She published her first novel, Telling, with the encouragement of Gloria Miklowitz, a well-known writer of young adult fiction. Telling deals with molestation, and students at her school became avid readers (and critics) of the manuscript. In the process, “students were developing a critical sense, using literary terms, analyzing character and motivation. And they were paying attention to the specifics of language use.”

Encouraged by the experience, she went on to write a realistic novel about teen pregnancy, Detour for Emmy, followed by nine more titles in the series. She believes that “the essence of sustained silent reading has to do with the increased understanding of one’s self and the world, of enabling the wounded to heal, the isolated to know they are not alone, the bigoted to see the humanity of others.”

Marilyn Reynolds is a passionate advocate of the benefits of writing in addition to reading. She promotes writing through participation in the 916 Ink program, and works with incarcerated youth in the Sacramento area. She engages with teens in a local continuation high school, and through visiting schools as an author, designing each visit to meet the individual needs of the school. She also presents staff development workshops for educators and is a frequent guest speaker for programs and organizations that serve teens, parents, teachers, and writers.

To request a visit, comment on Marilyn's books, or ask a question, visit Marilyn's web site, or send a message to Marilyn Reynolds below:

Other Books By Marilyn Reynolds