Summary: For as long as she can remember, Kat has been harbouring a terrible secret: her father’s best friend has been manipulating her and abusing her since she was little. Volunteering in a children’s hospital where she encounters Taylor, a girl dealing with physical abuse, Kat becomes inspired by her bravery in telling others who is to blame. With a family that labels her as a troublemaker, Kat is understandably hesitant to reveal the truth, fearing no one will believe her. But when Greg, her abuser slips up, others start to question the nature of their relationship and Kat must decide whether to tell the truth herself, or watch as it all unravels before her.
Number of Pages: 195
Age Range: 13-14
Review: Until Today by Pam Fluttert tackles the challenging subject of childhood abuse. Based partially on her own personal experience, Fluttert introduces her reader to Kat, a teen who has been sexually abused by her father’s best friend since she was a little girl. The shame Kat feels for ‘letting’ it happen keeps her quiet, as does the fear that no one will believe her over Greg, her abuser.
Fluttert has my respect for writing about Kat’s experiences, and I especially like how she connects Kat with Taylor. Their friendship provides both with the strength to face their demons and stop the abuse.
With the way Kat’s parents seem to have her scapegoated as the cause of most family troubles though, I was quite surprised when they immediately trusted her version of events. Kat’s ability to forgive her parents in spite of years of pent up anger was also astonishing. It was easy to care for Kat as a character, and I wanted to tell her over and over again that the abuse wasn’t her fault.
Though Until Today takes its reader right up to the end of the abuse and through Kat’s struggle to tell the truth, it only hints at the challenges Kat will face once the abuse ends as she embarks on a new relationship with her parents and possibly her first romantic relationship as well. There is more to the story than what is contained in Fluttert’s 195 pages, but I understand that part of Kat’s story could be a whole other novel.
If it is followed by discussion with an adult, I think this is a suitable pick for early teen readers.
“Sarah gets to be the little girl I could never be. She has the peace that comes with innocence, the trusting nature of somebody who doesn’t have a worry in the world. For now.” – Kat from Until Today by Pam Fluttert, page 96
“Uncontrolled panic blurs my vision, causing me to sway. ‘I’ve lost control. The only thing I had control of for all those years was my secret. It was mine and nobody else’s and now it’s gone. Oh no, oh no, no, no.'” – Kat from Until Today by Pam Fluttert, page 189