Title: Life Unaware Author: Cole Gibsen Expected Publication: April 28th 2015 by Entangled: Teen Format: ebook; Paperback, 320 pages Genre: Young Adult Source: My thanks to Netgalley and Entangled Publishing LLC for an opportunity to read an advance copy of this
Not all high school bullying books are created equal. Some actually add a couple of twists that have the reader bragging to her friends about how awesome this is and should be read not only for the awareness but for the idea of how change could be incorporated within their school districts.
Seventeen-year-old Regan Flay is your typical straight A cheerleader, student council, center of attention girl that picks her friends for their social value and her activities based on how they will look on her college resume. She will tell you that her life is hard, caffeine to wake up and Xanax to calm down, that being perfect and the daughter of a Congresswoman just puts her in a spotlight that she could not always control. Anxiety attacks are a sign of weakness and if anyone caught wind of this, her perfectly created world would be over. She did not understand that her actions toward others could have lasting effects. That is until the tables are turned and she becomes the victim of the bullying that she had showered down on others.
When she walks onto campus, she is consumed with thoughts of her cheerleading tryouts. She did not do as well as she had hoped but knows that she must make the squad again this year; this will guarantee her place in the campus hierarchy. She senses that something is different, it is common for people to be looking at her, but people are now looking at her with contempt and not the usual envy.
She never trusted Amber, the head cheerleader, but knew that she had to remain friends if she wanted to be on the squad. They each kept the others secrets. They shared too much. This was her down fall. Every text that they had shared has been printed out and now they were plastered on the lockers. Everyone that they had been mean to saw in writing what had been said. How did their private messages get out? Was she hacked? Was someone out to ruin her? How was she going to contain this and turn it around?
Regan’s best friend Payton is nowhere to be found. She is not answering her phone or responding to messages. How could her best friend abandon her like this? Is social preservation more important than their friendship? She was not going to show tears, tears were a weakness. With the tables turned and her now being the victim, how was she going to last a week let alone the rest of the school year? She was alone. She was broken and had to learn how to fix herself.
When you reach your lowest point, it is surprising who comes to your aid. For Regan it was the boy that she despised. She had two options – either allow Nolan to be her only friend or use her anxiety pills as a way out. It was not as if others did not think that that was a better idea. They even suggested it on Facebook and it had seventy-six likes.
There were a couple of hints along the way as to who was behind this. The why was not at first apparent, but as you read along the pieces started to fit together. There are the grab you in the solar plexus moments and the grab the tissue moments, but by the end, you have understanding. You will know that words spoken and typed will forever be written on someone’s heart and it is up to you what another person carries with them.
One book may not change anything, but it is a start. How this school chose to transform what is written may put ideas into the minds of parents that are struggling with a way to make positive changes within their own schools.