Author: Susane Colasanti
Publisher: Viking Juvenille
Release Date: 31st May 2012
Read In: July 2012
Goodreads - Amazon.co.uk/.com - Book Depository
A romantic and empowering book about bullying
Noelle's life is all about survival. Even her best friend doesn't know how much she gets bullied, or the ways her mom neglects her. Noelle's kept so much about her life a secret for so long that when her longtime crush Julian Porter starts paying attention to her, she's terrified. Surely it's safer to stay hidden than to risk the pain of a broken heart. But when the antagonism of her classmates takes a dramatic turn, Noelle realizes it's time to stand up for herself--and for the love that keeps her holding on.
I know what it is like to be on your own. I had a spell when I was at school. Fortunately things do get better and now I am happy. I could relate to Noelle and some of what she was going through. It is what drew me to the book in the first place.
‘I want to help make the world a better place when I am far away from here. Because if we’re not improving the world in some way then what’s the point? Things will get better after this. They have to.’
Sherae and Simon are the heroes of this little tale. They discover Noelle’s situation and move to put a stop to it. Sherae is always there for Noelle; she doesn’t give up when she discovers the truth, she does everything she can to improve Noelle’s life. She is just the sort of friend Noelle needs. Simon is also there for her; giving her companionship at lunch as well as food. He makes her feel important. He doesn’t give a dog’s bucket what anyone else thinks and teaches that to Noelle. He wants to actively help people and he succeeds. These two are the best characters in the book and we need more people like that in the real world, I think.
Julian on the other hand, he just wasn’t there. Going in I assumed that Julian is going to be the hero of the story. He isn’t. I barely know him at all. He plays a small part but doesn’t seem to make a whole load of difference. He was just another thing that turned out good in Noelle’s life. He says he wanted to protect her from the bullies but doesn’t do a lot to actively stop them. We also see very little of him and he turns up at random times. This was disappointing as far as the romance goes. I think Noelle should have gone out with Simon. But he is probably gay. Typical.
Not only has Noelle got to deal with all the problems at school but her home life is also being affected by a neglecting mother. Noelle has had to grow up to take care of herself where her mother has not. In essence, Noelle never asked for anything that happened to her. Nobody asks for someone to bully them but Noelle didn’t do anything to provoke them either. I didn’t entirely believe the bullies motives but then again we didn’t really get to know them as people.
I would have liked to have seen more of a change in Noelle’s character as the book progressed. I was enjoying the book up until half way but, when nothing seemed to develop or change, it slipped a half star. Things only started to change near the end.
The first part of the book and the characters of Sherae and Simon were what I enjoyed the most. I really connected with Noelle as well. Even though this is a short book, I felt it took to long for the story to start making progress. I would have liked a bit more of a journey.