When Morgan Mallen throws herself off of a water tower after being “terrorized on social media,” classmate Sam Proctor starts a journal to sort out his role in the tragedy.
Sam might have typed a message on Morgan’s social media page saying, “Just die! Die! Die! No one cares about you anyway!” It could have been Sam, but it also might not have been: it was part of an anonymous game played by many students taking turns posting secret comments. Sam admits to being “a follower, if you want to know the truth….Leave the decisions to somebody else. I’m happy going along for the ride.” Sam’s writing is simple and literate (he won an essay-writing contest last year, after all), and in dissecting the events that led to Morgan’s suicide, like a lawyer pleading a case before a jury, Sam becomes a writer, liking the person he becomes when he writes if not the person who went along, who didn’t stand up to Morgan’s tormentors. Toward the end of his self-analysis in his journal, Sam occasionally sounds more therapist than student, but his voice rings mostly true throughout, earnest and honest.
With its timely, important message and engaging prose style, Sam’s journal ought to find a large readership. (Fiction. 10-16)