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- Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
- Publication date: 5/31/2012
- Pages: 224
- Source: eARC provided by NetGalley/Penguin for review
A romantic and empowering book about bullying
Noelle's life is all about survival. Even her best friend doesn't know how much she gets bullied, or the ways her mom neglects her. Noelle's kept so much about her life a secret for so long that when her longtime crush Julian Porter starts paying attention to her, she's terrified. Surely it's safer to stay hidden than to risk the pain of a broken heart. But when the antagonism of her classmates takes a dramatic turn, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself--and for the love that keeps her holding on.
This book was just beautiful. It was sad, but really uplifting too. It is a touching and emotional story about overcoming bullying. I don't even know where to start with this review or even where to go with it really. I have been reading much more contemporary lately, but I still find it hard for me personally to review. This book broke my heart, but also made me smile. It's definitely a very emotionally draining book to read if you are a sympathetic reader.
Noelle is one of those characters you just really ache for. At some times I did feel a bit angry at her, but I totally understand why she did or didn't do certain things. High school is rough and it's a shame that she was embarrassed, but the fault really lies on her mother. It's sickening that her mother just kind of gives up and Noelle is basically trying to take care of herself. He mom is embarrassing, she is ashamed that she is poor and has nothing. I remember how horrible some kids can be to the people who didn't have as much. She isn't the only one getting picked on, but what is sad is that she is too ashamed to even hang out with another girl who is being bullied too. She is afraid that it will make things worse for her. She keeps saying how she wishes that people would do something, stand up for others, whatever, but then she won't do it either.
I loved Julian. He is such a great character. He is plenty well off, but he doesn't act all high and mighty like the other kids do. He isn't ashamed to talk to people who get picked on, or stand up for them. He doesn't feel the need to be in the cool crowd. He like Noelle because of who she is, not because of what she has, or more accurately, doesn't have. There needs to be more Julian's in this world. He is a good example of how people should treat each other and act. Is he perfect, no. Nobody is perfect, but he is pretty close.
The bullies made me so angry, but besides them, the teachers and others made me angry too. Like, how can the teachers just stand by and let people be treated so badly. Warren I totally wanted to punch in the face...repeatedly. And Carly too! Ugh! Just the things that they do and say it so horribly sad. They treat people however they want, throw food at people, push them verbally attack them, I could go on and on. My heart was aching through so much of this book.
I loved that Noelle still had a good friend to stick with her through things. Sharae was really awesome and always reassured Noelle that she was a great person. Noelle had still hid a lot of stuff from Sharae, but her are Sharae have a great heart to heard and tell each other about the secrets they have been hiding and how they feel. Sharae has her own issues in this book to that are very serious too.
This book was just very real. I could see these things happening. I have seen these things happen for real. This book brought out a lot of my emotions, mostly anger, anguish, and disappointment. So many of the characters really, really disappointed me, but that's realistically how it is. I also did feel very happy at a lot of moments. I liked the strength that Noelle eventually found in herself with the help of Sharae, Simon and Julian. I also loved how brave Sharae was. She not only stands by Noelle, but she stands up for herself and what is right where a lot of girls wouldn't. I highly recommend this book to teenagers and adults. The message in this book is just so heartbreaking, but wonderful. You can overcome bullying, don't let it define you. Find your inner strength. 4 out of 5 stars