Monday, October 12, 2015

Are You Still There by Sarah Lynn Scheerger

Summary on Goodreads.

Buy from Amazon.

A school bomber; or actually, a thread of a bomb in a school. From there comes the creation of a help line where teenagers are completely in charge of it without adult supervision.

You know from the summary that the bomber is targeting Gabi but, as he said, "I'd never hurt you." Eventually, the bomber becomes a regular caller to this help line in order to talk to Gabi. And what do they do? "Let's get the police trace the calls" suggests someone. "No, Gabi says, he trusts me. I can stop him." Wow, just wow!

The rest of the plot is blah blah blah yada yada to fill the pages.

Oh! And let's not forget these kind of diary entries called "manifesto" where the bomber talks about himself revealing nothing other than he is a loner, nobody pays attention to him, he is invisible, thus hating everybody but Gabi because she is different. Like, she doesn't take part when students make fun of other students (rather just stands there and mind her own business).

There is a very awkward romance between Gabi and Miguel. You see, Miguel is an immigrant and apparently he pretends to have an accent but he can really speak without one. Miguel is very into Gabi but Gabi is so no into Miguel and she tells him so. That is fine, except that I never saw Miguel produce one intelligent sentence, yet, somehow, love seems to blossom from his scarce lines. Out of the blue he tells her he loves her (not 'like you' but 'love you'), and he sends her "I love you" texts that seemed to work because by the end of the story Gabi suddenly realizes that she loves him too. Yes, just the romantic kind of stalking crap teenagers need.

In short: This book is probably trying to send an anti bully message. It seems now that "invisible" students or students who are ignored at school go for massacre (bomb, mass shooting... hmmm).

Oh! there's also some girl who killed herself because she was ridiculed. Apparently, the girl liked girls and some cheerleader pretended to like her back just to catch her on video doing something embarrassing. Parents' reactions? They threw the teenager out of the house to live on the streets. Duh! no wonder she killed herself.

Unsubstantial YA that would definitely appeal to someone. I can't in a clear conscience recommend this book to any YA but I am sure some teenagers will dig the mystery aspect of finding who the bomber of the school is and imagining it could happen in their school.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this title.