Yay! My first book completed for #TackleTBR and reviewed!
Woah! Hit me hard!
Are You Still There hits some hard stuff. Bullying, school violence, suicide…
An earth-shattering start to this book does not even describe the events that happen.
Gabi is shut into a bathroom stall during a school lock down; she’s been in there for hours. All she knows is that everyone has been instructed to get into classrooms or take cover. But no, she had to pee. A voice over the intercom tells the school that it is a not a drill, and to stay put, even if you were not in a classroom. Gabi is tense as all get-out and she pees her pants. She hears footsteps outside the door and wonders if her life will end… Because of the school bomber.
A couple weeks later, while no one was hurt, the bomber still has not been found and refers to himself as the Stranger. He writes a manifesto as the story continues, and certain events leads to enrolling Gabi to help get his message out.
Now, mind you, Gabi is a straight-A student, AP classes, goody-two-shoes kind of girl. Her dad is a cop, investigating what happened at the school. Little by little, without her consent, she gets dragged into this mess.
This is going to be a different kind of review. Normally, I leave little clues as to what happens, leaving out major spoilers. But this is not that kind of book.
Are You Still There is a psychological thriller that focuses on depression, bullying, school violence, suicide, helplines, and the overall fact of needing to be nice. Yes, there are many hard teen issues discussed in this book. Sarah Scheerger does a fantastic job at cultivating every single aspect and turning it into something with an unexpected twist.
Gabi was a character that I could relate to. No, I wasn’t an AP straight-A student in high school, but I know what it’s like to be on the outside looking in as she pieces the puzzle together. I’ve been bullied, I’ve been depressed, I never thought of suicide, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t have friends that have.
The story is realistic while leaving room for the characters to grow. It was a page-turner that I had a hard time putting down. I stayed awake reading, until my eyes nearly closed on their own. It is not for the faint of heart, but it does have a tad bit of teen romance with a happily ever after in every aspect of the book. Thumbs up to Ms. Scheerger!
*I have received a copy in exchange for an honest review, provided by NetGalley.