Author: James Preller
Synopsis: Through his journal a boy deals with the death of a classmate, who committed suicide as a result of bullying.
The summer before school starts, Sam’s friend and classmate Morgan Mallen kills herself. Morgan had been bullied. Maybe she kissed the wrong boy. Or said the wrong thing. What about that selfie that made the rounds? Morgan was this, and Morgan was that. But who really knows what happened?
As Sam explores the events leading up to the tragedy, he must face a difficult and life-changing question: Why did he keep his friendship with Morgan a secret? And could he have done something—anything—to prevent her final actions?
Huge thank you to the publisher for letting me read an advanced copy of this book!
Overall this is a solid look at suicide, bullying, and peer pressure. It’s told in journal entries by our narrator, Sam, who is trying to figure out and come to terms with the suicide of a classmate. We get to see that Morgan, the girl who jumped to her death, wasn’t just a random classmate. She was the outcast, the social leper, the one that everyone ganged up on. And she was also Sam’s friend.
And he liked her. Like-liked her. And she liked him back.
But we learn that Sam is just your average kid trying to get through high school without making waves. He’s a baseball player, decently liked, and gets along well enough with the popular kids that he is involved in their games. And their favorite game is a sick version of tag where if you’re “it” you have to write something super nasty (and anonymous) on Morgan’s social media site. And Sam admits that he’s a follower and that he follows the flow and that this is what he does.
I liked the voice of this. The writing was simple but clear, and I think it worked well for the story that was being told. Sadly, thought, I think it also didn’t lend well to a lot of depth and emotion which is why I’m giving it a 3 instead of a 4. I liked this, but it didn’t really make me feel anything. It made me think, which is what books like this should do, but it didn’t really rip me up or anything (which is what I want books like this to do).
Overall this is a nice addition to an important genre that explores bullying, suicide, and the ramifications it has on not just those directly effected, but everyone in a peer group.