by Littman, Sarah Darer

When Christian, an online friend, posts a lot of nasty comments on her page, Lara tries to kill herself-but that is only the beginning of the backlash for her sister, Sydney; her former friend Bree; and her classmates.

Sarah Darer Littman is the critically acclaimed author of Backlash; Want to Go Private?; Anything But Okay; In Case You Missed It; Life, After; and Purge. She is also an award-winning news columnist and teaches writing at Western Connecticut State University and with the Yale Writers' Conference. Sarah lives in Connecticut with her family, in a house that never seems to have enough bookshelves. You can visit her online at

Overweight Lara was bullied and depressed in middle school. Now a sophomore, 30 pounds lighter, her life has turned around. She made the cheer team and has new friends, plus a hot boy from another school is interested in her via Facebook. Her ex-BFF Bree, who ended their friendship two years earlier when Lara's depression got in the way, is now angry after being bumped from the cheer team. When the FB boy suddenly posts devastatingly hurtful things about Lara, it sends her over the edge and into a world where she believes suicide is the only answer. Thoughtfully told from the perspectives of Lara, Bree, and their younger siblings, this is a powerful and credible story that illustrates the perils of immature decisions and explores the wide-reaching ripple effect of destructive actions thought by the perpetrators as "fun." Innocents affected also suffer real anguish, and bullying by association. The depression and bullying are handled realistically without sugarcoating, and fortunately, consequences are applied. An excellent choice for any antibullying campaign, it complements Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why (2007) and Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance (2012). Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Cyberbullying and a suicide attempt, told from four first-person perspectives.The dramatic opening finds 15-year-old Lara, "numb with hurt and panic," talking online with a boy named Christian, her first romance, though she knows him only online. He's calling her awful, terrible, a loser he'd never take to a dance. "The world would be a better place without you in it," he types and promptly blocks her. Next, Lara's sister, Sydney, an eighth-grader, pounds on a locked door behind which Lara has overdosed. As emergency workers carry Lara out on a stretcher, next-door neighbor Bree (also 15) snaps a pic and posts it to Facebook, reveling in the many "likes" it draws. The timeline rewinds two months; Lara, Syd, Bree and Bree's eighth-grade brother, Liam, alternate narrating. The two families used to be close, and Bree and Lara even used to be good friends. The prose is smooth, though the piece overall is more about ideas—cyberbullying and suicide—than any unique chara cterization of these white, suburban teens. The parents range from self-centered to actively cruel—Bree's mother helps Bree fool and taunt Lara—and even Syd repeatedly considers her sister's pain to be "drama." The four-narrator structure isn't entirely emotionally illuminating: Bree never quite makes sense as a character even in her own chapters. More conceptual than distinct, but accessible and potentially useful. (author's note) (Fiction. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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