Genres: Young Adult, Drama, Contemporary, Social Issues
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Publishing House: Balzer and Bray
Number of pages: 336
Source: ARC from Netgalley
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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.
With its powerful narrative, unconventional point of view, and strong anti-bullying theme, this coming-of-age story offers smart, insightful, and nuanced views on high school society, toxic friendships, and family relationships.
“She asked for it.”
“It didn’t have to happen if she didn’t do this… if she didn’t do that…”
“We didn’t kill her. She did this to herself.”
How many times have we seen these excuses being said by bullies and perpetrators, in defense of their horrible actions? How many times have we read these kinds of comments by people on the internet, heavy words easily thrown under the veil of anonymity? Too many times, I bet. Once is already too much. And every time I stumble upon such words, such implications, I feel dark and empty inside, and I wonder if the people in our society are devolving into hideous monsters who have no ounce of compassion in their veins.
So to read a book about bullying, about slut-shaming, from the perspective of a bully and a slut-shamer, was… a different kind of experience. I can’t describe it, but let’s just say that after reading this book, I felt like showering myself ten times over.