A quiet, insightful look into the aftermath of bullying through the eyes of a former victim.
Maggie is 17 now, but she still feels the effects of the torment she experienced in junior high school. When Raleigh Barringer, the popular girl who orchestrated physical, verbal and digital attacks against Maggie, returns to Maggie’s high school after living in Italy, the teen is terrified. Details of Raleigh’s past actions are revealed slowly over the course of the narrative. Through each relationship in Maggie’s life, readers see how Raleigh’s bullying has left an impact. As the book begins, Maggie and her close friend Nick are developing romantic feelings for each other. After they kiss, Maggie remembers Raleigh telling her that no boy would ever like her, so readers will likely realize long before Maggie does that Nick’s interest is genuine. More subtly drawn is the rift that grows between Maggie and her friend Sylvie. Maggie is so certain that everyone besides herself is happy and well-adjusted that she neglects Sylvie’s troubles with her girlfriend. Maggie and Nick climb tough mountains as a hobby, and the hazards and triumphs of their climbs are gripping and emotionally resonant.
Well-crafted, though it treads some familiar ground. (Fiction. 12-18)