Sunday, September 11, 2016

Read - Backlash

Backlash
by Sarah Darer Littman
2015
321 pages

'Lara just got told off on Facebook. 

She thought that Christian liked her, that he was finally going to ask her to his school's homecoming dance. It's been a long time since Lara's felt this bad, this depressed. She's worked really hard since starting high school to be happy and make new friends.


Bree used to be BBFs with overweight, depressed Lara in middle school, but constantly listening to Lara's problems got to be too much. Bree's secretly glad that Christian's pointed out Lara's flaws to the world. Lara's not nearly as great as everyone thinks.


After weeks of talking online, Lara thought she knew Christian, so what's with this sudden change? And where does he get off saying horrible things on her wall? Even worse - are they true?


But no one realized just how far Christian's harsh comments would push Lara. Not even Bree.
As online life collides with real life, the truth starts to come together and the backlash is even more devastating than anyone could have imagined.
'

*** MIGHT CONTAIN SPOILERS ***

 I really enjoyed this book, which seems sort of wrong to say when it's about some pretty serious things.  There is an acknowledgement at the back of the book, the author stating she was inspired to write this after reading about several cyberbullying incidents.  Most of the story seems based on the Megan Meier suicide, a story I've seen covered on my beloved true crime shows.  (Please go read the article I've linked Megan's name to.)

This book jumps around from four different perspectives.  There are Lara and Bree, of course, but also Lara's younger sister Sydney, and Bree's younger brother Liam.  Sometimes I hate when author's try to tell a story that way but it seems to work in this one.  There are just some angles that need to be covered from other eyes to really get a feel of the *whole* situation.  Although Lara seems to be the main character, I actually liked her the least.  She has a history of depression and struggling with issues but she just seemed a little too . . . I don't know . . . mopey?  Dramatically fragile?  It wasn't until the end of the book, when she started coming out of it, that I started to appreciate her character.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out from the description on the back of the book that someone is posing at Christian.  And if you think just a bit harder, you'll be able to figure out who.  Because I already knew the Megan Meier story, I wasn't surprised to find out who the helper was either.  It still infuriated me though.

This story keeps a good pace without a lot of side stories and fluff.  It keeps to the point and keeps it real and blunt.  There were small amounts of cheesiness here and there, but overall it stayed extremely readable.  As the book neared the end it started to seem like things were being wrapped up a bit too neat and easy, toeing the line of rainbows and unicorns, but it seemed to straighten itself back out by the end.  And even in it's subtle ways, it really does make you think about the society we've become.  (A favorite rant topic of mine, you know!)

I liked that there were consequences all around.  I liked the bully in turn became a victim, and liked that there was even a backlash against that vigilante backlash.  (If that makes sense?!)  It makes me think of the mentality of so many these days with a certain current hot topic, how people have such angry knee jerk reactions to things they see online without pausing for a moment to think about it or get facts.  Although this particular story is about a teenage girl being cyberbullied, I think the points made can easily transfer over into other areas.  Hiding behind words on a screen is so easy to do, but what would happen if you didn't have that shield?  Would you still be so bold and brave?

Well anyway, a very good story about a very serious and current topic.
I think you should check this one out if you're looking for something quick to read.

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