After persistent bullying leads to a high school senior’s suicide, her tormentors examine their behavior and culpability.
This searing page turner explores the psyches and actions of a group of high school students whose merciless cruelty—and the group is shockingly vicious—drives fellow classmate Leslie Gatlin to commit suicide. What makes the rolling narration told from diverse points of view suspenseful is that Leslie’s parents commence a civil lawsuit, and the district attorney gets interested as well. Suddenly the bullies, who have secrets to protect and varying motivations for their behavior, are in the hot seat. Macie Merrick is the manipulative, Machiavellian queen of the bullies, and her character, though over-the-top demonic, is great fun to hate. Author Davis makes it clear that suicide was the victim’s choice—the theme of choice is central to the novel—and by the end of the story, readers understand that all the bullies, with the exception of the evil Macie, will now make better choices. Still, the damage is irreversible, and no amount of remorse or future compassion can negate the past, something at least one of the bullies must come to terms with.
A riveting read on an important topic. (Fiction. 14 & up)