This book surprised me and is one of my favorites of the year. It’s described by its author as Heathers meets Mean Girls, but I didn’t think so. It’s so much better than either of those two (for the record: I am not a fan of either film).
There’s a lot going on here, and while I’m sure some will try to say it’s tokenism or whatever, I don’t agree. The characters are relatable, their sexual orientation, race, weight, etc, are all reflective of real people in society and their experiences. These characters just happen to have one of those things as a part of who they are. There isn’t any agenda pushing here or anything like that.
Was there a preachy moment? Yup. But it didn’t feel like an out of place moment, just one that went on a little too long – and if you missed it, the author’s note serves as a brick to the head to make sure you get it somehow.
I’ll be honest – I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. But Emma is a wonderful narrator; her sarcasm and snark was totally on point and some of the best writing of a modern teenager I’ve seen. She’s got morals and feelings and she stands up for what’s right, and if her voice is drowned out she at least knows that she tried. She’s not a coward.
And the bully of the story is her stepsister. It isn’t some random kid from school. It’s family. And that’s something so often overlooked in the awareness against bullies that many times the bully in someone’s life is a family member and there is no easy fix, if there’s a fix at all. I wish the author had mentioned that in her note, but she was trying to go in a different direction with it, and I respect that. Still, it’s worth a mention because maybe there’s someone out there who may find refuge in Emma’s sarcasm and wit from their own familial bully.