Cyberbullying and old-fashioned cruelty have devastating consequences in this debut novel.
When new girl Carolyn Lessing starts high school in small-town Adamsville, Alabama, she draws a lot of attention. Beautiful, sophisticated, and talented, she immediately becomes someone everyone wants to know. She even gets nominated for homecoming court and dates one of the most popular boys in school. But soon, she finds herself the target of the high school’s mean girls. Gossip about Carolyn spreads like wildfire across social media, and eventually she’s more social pariah than golden girl. The story’s unusual point of view—first person plural—makes the reader feel involved and question who’s really to blame for what happens. The heavy subject matter and deep unpleasantness of the characters make this book difficult to read, though. It’s clear that Carolyn is dealing with serious problems, but no one steps in to help her. The cruelty of teenagers is put on full display as she’s mercilessly tormented. This leads to a conclusion that has an emotional impact but feels slightly too moralistic.
This cautionary tale about technology and bullying explores the nastiness that exists in high school halls and online.