From James Preller, the author of Bystander, another unflinching book about bullying and its fallout.
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?
This title has Common Core connections.
Preller returns to themes addressed in his 2009 novel, Bystander, in an equally painful story about the aftermath of a teenager's suicide. After relentless bullying online, high school outcast Morgan Mallen throws herself off a water tower, leaving her tormentors to grapple with guilt over how they treated her. The narrative is composed of confessional journal entries written by one of Morgan's classmates, Sam Proctor. "I'm a follower, if you want to know the truth," he writes. "What can I say?" One year earlier, manipulative classmate Athena dragged Sam and others into a game of making mean, anonymous posts on Morgan's social media page. Simultaneously, Sam began an awkward friendship with Morgan, but she discovered his betrayal. Now, Sam views his writing, a mix of essays and poems, as a sort of solitary confinement, a space in which he can reflect on his behavior. The journal format closely chronicles Sam's transformation from follower to leader, yet Preller avoids sermonizing, instead focusing on one individual's complicated process of grieving, accepting responsibility, and moving forward. Ages 9 14.
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This is a heartwarming story about friendship, bullying, and drama. If you haven’t read this book, you should. I would read this book a hundred more times.
I highly suggest reading this.
You won’t regret it.