The persecutor becomes the persecuted when personal texts and emails are leaked, outing Regan Flay as the scheming mean girl she really is.
Life for Regan is about perfection at all costs. Following in her congresswoman mother’s political ways, Regan selects friends based on their social value and activities by how they will look on her college application. She relies on caffeine to keep her going and Xanax to calm her down. When she is exposed, her friends disappear. Only Nolan, her best friend’s irreverent brother, seems unperturbed by her social downfall. He suggests a way to salvage her reputation as well as do some good. Together, they film a documentary chronicling high school bullying and hatch a plan to build people up rather than tearing them down. By humanizing the mean girls, Gibsen complicates the familiar theme of bullying, revealing that everyone has something he or she would rather keep hidden. Secondary characters suffer from a too-heavy hand, however; Regan’s mother might even give Cruella de Vil pause. While the dialogue is spot-on, the sheer volume of expletives will make this a hard sell for some.
This well-intentioned story would have profited from a more delicate touch. (Fiction. 14-18)