Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: September 22nd 2015
by Feiwel & Friends
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?
As he did in Bystander, James Preller takes an issue that faces every student and school in the country, and makes it personal, accessible, and real.
-A copy was provided by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group for review-
I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of books about suicide and bullying lately. I suppose it’s a good thing because that means that there are more and more books out there covering the topic. Even though they all cover the same topic, the characters and situations are much different though. In this case it’s told by a boy who was kind of friends with the girl who committed suicide. What I mean by that is that he would secretly talk to her and hang out with her, but wouldn’t admit it out of fear of being judged. Of becoming a victim of the same bullying that she goes through. He is afraid, and after her death he needs to come to terms with things. We get to learn the story of their friendship and see how he is dealing with the aftermath of it.
Sam is a good kid. He just struggles with the same pressures that most kids do. When everyone at school is doing something, or thinks someone else is a social outcast, it’s hard to go against them out of fear of becoming a victim yourself. The most popular girl is mean and awful to Morgan, so the whole school instantly picks on her. There is a website that people post really mean things on. Including Sam. It’s part of what he is supposed to do. If the card gets put into your possession, it’s your turn and to not do it is to become one of the bullied yourself. Sam doesn’t want to, but he also wants to stay in good with the ones who run the school. What makes it harder is that he is friends with Morgan, but only in secret. He really does like her, but can’t let anyone find out. After her suicide, he writes a journal and talks to the school counselor. He needs to get his thoughts in order. Find himself. He really does have a good heart, but his revelations about how he behaved is a bit too late.
This was a heartbreaking account into a hidden friendship with a girl who is depressed. Someone who can’t take much more of the bullying and emotional pain. She thought that her friendship with Sam was true until he is too embarrassed to be seen with her. He tells her he can’t take the ridicule of what they will do or say to him at school. Morgan is the one who is bullied harshly, but he doesn’t see that she is hurting.He doesn’t understand that he was being a coward until it is too late and she’s already gone. He also see’s that she was anything but a coward. She faced everything head on and never showed that it hurt her. How he tries to redeem himself, for her, and for all affected was heartfelt and beautiful. I didn’t realize the emotional impact this book had on me until the very last sentence when it brought tears to my eyes. This was a heartbreaking and beautiful story about friendship, bullying, and the aftermath of all of it.
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