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Respectful Relationships

The Natural Way of Things

Charlotte Wood



Shivaun Plozza

young adult

Here Come the Dogs

Omar Musa

Malaysian Australian

Big Little Lies

Liane Moriarty


Stay With Me

Maureen McCarthy

young adult

Your Skirt’s Too Short

Emily Maguire


Tender Morsels

Margo Lanagan

speculative fiction
young adult

Night Games: Sex, Power and Sport

Anna Krien


The Build-Up Season

Megan Jacobsen

young adult

Storm and Grace

Kathryn Heyman


A Shadow’s Breath

Nicole Hayes

young adult

Summer Skin

Kirsty Eagar

young adult

Respect is a vital part of all relationships, from those at home to those at school or work; within families, friendships and romances; and regardless of whether the relationships are romantic or platonic, straight or queer.

The titles on this list explore what can happen when respect is absent. The texts are challenging and confronting at times, as they address themes of family violence and intimate partner violence, sexual violence, and the cultural norms and gender inequalities that can lead to – and reinforce – such behaviours.

But storytelling is also a place for hope, comfort and redemption. It is a place where people can find power and courage, and learn how to take action. These books enable readers to better empathise with the experiences of others, find solace in seeing their experiences reflected on the page, and safely examine and reimagine their own relationships.


Thinking Points

  • How do you want to be treated in a relationship? What things worry you in a relationship or leave you feeling bad?
  • How do people treat each other in these texts? How does this fit with your ideas about what you look for in your own relationships?
  • What does the phrase ‘be a man’ mean to you? What about ‘like a girl’? Do you see stereotypes of masculinity and femininity playing a role in the relationships in the texts?
  • What are the ways characters show respect for one another? How is disrespect demonstrated? How do characters react to the ways they are treated?
  • Is there any kind of violence in the book? What type of violence is it (e.g. physical, emotional, sexual, psychological, financial, spiritual, social)? Who is the perpetrator? Who is the victim? Did you see any warning signs before the violence took place? Did they?
  • Do you see examples of violence resulting from gender inequality?
  • Are the female characters in control of their own lives and decisions? If they do not have control, who does?
  • Consider the friendships and platonic relationships in the book. How do these relationships shape or support the behaviours of the characters? What are the good things about this relationship? Is it supportive, respectful, sustaining or equal? What aspects of this relationship are unfair, unstable or toxic? Are these behaviours on both sides, or is there a power imbalance?
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