Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with an advance reader copy in exchange of an honest review.
This was mind blowing.
I struggled all my life with bullying and always had (and still have) self-esteem problems. I knew people like Emma who were called "sluts", because we're raised to believe that sex positive girls are sinners. I have hated much more than I have loved and I don't know if I would ever be capable of forgiving something like this. As you can imagine, this book speaks to me on many levels.
This story was told by the bully point of view so my first instinct was to pick it up, just by the boldness of the author. I had problems at first, but once I started reading I engaged in the book and I found it really quick to read.
I felt the necessity to hate Sara because she is a bully, but instead I was pushed to her side of the story and I had to live in her world, to see things by her eyes. I didn't love her, of course, but I didn't quite hate her.
I didn't get to know Emma, but all the mean things they did to her felt very real and vivid. I can only imagine the nightmare she was living.
One thing that annoys me in TV shows and some books is that they don't seem to understand what bullying is really about. I've never heard of anyone shoved down the toilette, yet I always see it as a movie cliché about bullying. This kind of bullying, however, was believable. What I'm trying to say is that I identify with some situations and I could totally see it happen at my former highschool. It felt real and that's what made it so powerful and terrifying.
I like uncomfortable books and I think I should read them more often because they show things differently. I've read somewhere that the most frightening villain is the one you can identify with. I understood the rushing Sara felt, everytime she thought she was in control. The fact that I understood it made me sick.
I also liked Carmichael because he was in the middle of things. He wasn't one of the bullies but he wasn't exactly the hero. He was the boy who got close to the killer and he showed Sara that looks can be deceiving.
Of course I'm not trying to defend Sara, but she was definitely a character that got under my skin. It felt good to see her deal with the consequences of her actions, like a little personal revenge of mine. At the same time, seeing her regretting things and finally understanding how awful was her behavior just made the final way better.
I can understand why many people will give up on this book or not give it a try at all. And, yes, it was frustrating seeing Sara as this egocentric person that couldn't realize how mean she was. But life isn't pretty and not all criminals feel remorse.
Anyway, I'm very pleased for having the opportunity to read this book and I highly recommend it. It talks about some serious problems that happen way more often then we realize.
4 out of 5 stars