Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman-- Again With The Unlikable Characters!!

When Lara finally feels her middle school troubles are behind her-- she meets new friends, makes the cheerleading squad, and she thinks that she's left "Lardo Lara" behind for good.... especially when a good looking guy on Facebook named Christian begins chatting with her.  But just as their chats get more serious and he seems close to asking her to his school dance, he abruptly (and publicly) posts that she's a loser and he wants nothing to do with her.  Lara doesn't understand what she did wrong, what she always seems to do wrong, but this sends her right back into her middle school depression spiral.

Bree is Lara's next door neighbor.  They used to be besties, but Bree had to move on from Lara because she couldn't take her constant depressing talk and complaints about herself.  Bree never expects that Lara will have such a major breakdown, but when she sees her come out of her house on a stretcher, she can't help but snap a few pics for Facebook.  Anything to get a few likes right?

Neither Lara or Bree realize what the backlash will be for not only them, but their families, when their online lives have major consequences.

I've been wanting to read this for a long time because I love books about real-life issues.  And also books like this always make me really happy that I didn't have to deal with social media when I was "growing up".  I can only imagine all the stupid stuff that teenagers do to each other over the internet just because it's easy.

My heart breaks for all the kids out there going through online bullying and having to see the mean things that people write.  If you're one of those people, just know that people suck, and Facebook makes it easier for sucky people to show off their suckage.  They would never say it to your face, they're just cowards w/ a keyboard.  (I know that doesn't make it any better, but I wish there were words that could!!).

As far as books go, I wouldn't put this up with my favorites.  It had a good story: girl with a history of depression gets dumped publicly on social media, peers jump in and "like" the post, girl ends up in the hospital over it... and other spoilery stuff I can't mention.  It was a book I read really fast and wanted to keep reading and reading, but there was a lot I didn't like about it also.  The characters weren't my favorite.  I like a flawed character, but all the characters in this book were mega-selfish and had MAJOR brat moments, even the adults.  It's like each character was trying to yell louder than the other character to be able to be heard.  And they all got super pissed if anyone else was getting the attention.  I can take 1 or 2 people like that, but everyone?  It was super difficult.

Beyond the brat-attack moments, the book also felt a little juvenile.  I read almost exclusively YA, and most of them don't feel this young.  I don't know if it was because the characters were less developed or what, but I definitely would recommend this to younger readers.  Also, the cautionary, after-school specialness of it would be for the younger reader.

The ending frustrated me a little because I wanted people to feel bad, and not just for themselves.  There are things that happen in this book that deserve many apologies and very few of those apologies went around.  Yes, many (all) of the characters were self-centered, but I wanted them to GROW and they didn't.  It was all about ME ME ME in the beginning and it was the same in the end.  I did like that some things were left up in the air.  Problems weren't just magically fixed, but more character growth would have been nice.

OVERALL: I liked it, not anywhere near loved.  I'm glad I read it, and even enjoyed reading it, but it wasn't without it's flaws.  The characters got on my nerves, and there was a frustrating lack of character growth, but it was an issue that I'm glad a book was written about.  I'd say it's worth a try, but get it from the library.

Date Published: 4/28/2015
How I got this book: I bought it
Publisher: Scholastic

Add it to your To-Read List!!

This Book Contains:
  • Cyber-bullying
  • A Suicide attempt
  • Depression
  • A mom in politics
  • No swearing or sexual situations
  • A treehouse
  • Cheerleading
  • Body issues
  • Therapy

My Rating: 3.5/5

Character: Lara Kelley
Book: 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

  • Lara needs some lightness in her life to take her mind off all the things.  This Jessica Brody book is fun to read and has LOL moments.  I think Lara would also relate to the parental issues in the book!!

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  1. Thanks for the review. I'm putting this on my TBB list because every now and again, I like to make my daughter read books about real life issues so that she can see the consequences of actions and even non-actions. This sounds like something we should probably read together so thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    1. This is perfect for seeing consequences of online behavior!! Hope your daughter loves it. I would totally rec this to all young people.

  2. Great review! So frustrating when characters bug you to the point where it affects the book. I have had this happen a lot lately. Glad it still had redeeming features!

    1. The characters mostly all had some good moments, but ughhh sometimes they were SO selfish. I need to have mix of characters and not all of them acting up. But I still somehow liked the book.

  3. Sounds like this one takes on a very important issue, but I am sad to hear that it felt a bit juvenile and that you were disappointed in the ending. Still I hope younger readers pick it up.

  4. I am also glad I didn't grow up as much with social media. We only had MSN mostly then, but that was mostly chatting not public. This sounds like a very realistic book with how it tackles real life issues and social media. The character do sound very unlikeable, especially with all of them being like that. And it sounds like a bit of character growth would've been nice. I agree that change and growth doesn't go fast, but it is nice to see a bit of change or growth in a book. Great review and you really gave me a good feel of this book. And I like your list of "this book contains:"