Pages: 336 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Goodreads / Amazon
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.
I think it has been hard for many readers to accept the fact that our teenage years are very confusing and full of pressures. I've seen a lot of people deem this book for the 'unlikeable' main character and her 'lack of remorse'. I think they need to understand that things like this happen in real life and these kids are not villains. It's hard for some people to step inside the mind of a bully, but to understand why it happens, you must.
Thankfully, in this novel Sarah is not the ultimate bully but she's best friends with her anyway. Brielle's character was portrayed as the villain even though I guarantee that if we read a novel from her perspective, we might understand her better too.
All the aspects of a wonderful novel are present. From excellent writing to character development throughout the book. Stories like this are very sad and shamefully, have terrible consequences. The way this story was told though was smooth and eye-opening. I really enjoyed it. The real value of the story is that kids who are prone to bullying others to look good in front of pothers and be able to fit in, as Sarah does, can realize the depth of the consequences it might cost. If this book falls into the hands of a real-life Sarah it might change the way she sees things.
Overall, I think the author explored the issue very well, in a believable manner. I would recommend this for reader who enjoy a darker side of realistic fiction, and would encourage them to really step inside the character's shoes.