Published by: Viking Juvenile on September 25, 2014
Summary (from rachelvail.com):
When thirteen-year-old Truly is invited to sit at the Popular Table, she finds herself caught in a web of lies and misunderstandings, made unescapable by the hyperconnected social media world.
I read If We Kiss also by Rachel Veil and I loved it. A friend recommended it to me when I was younger and so when I was scouring the bookshelves at the library and I saw this book I thought that I would give it a try. I don’t really expect much from it, probably a fluffy story with a lesson at the end. My guess is that an “unpopular” girl is invited to the popular table for some unknown reason and she ditches her tried and true friends . However, being popular isn’t all it’s cut out to be and the girl realizes that she wants to be with her old “unpopular” friends. Then she has to do some huge apology to her old friends and they make up. I remember when I was in my teenage year, that was how most of the books were like.
I use to believe that I would have the potential to enjoy any type of book even if I am not in the target audience, but after reading this book, I don’t think that’s true anymore.
I am definitely beyond the target audience for this book and it’s painfully obvious. It’s hard to image that I, at one point in my life, could read books like this without quitting. In fact, the only reason that I didn’t put the book down was because I didn’t want to review a book that I had not finished. Throughout the whole book I was holding out for that moment where I would think, “Okay, well this isn’t that bad,” but I was waiting until the very end. And let me tell you, it was not worth the wait.
I just can’t relate to any of the characters anymore. This book is narrated by six 6th graders, four girls and two boys and I seriously could relate to none of them. The only one that I thought wasn’t terrible was Jack and he was basically a cardboard cutout. I guess the middle school I went to didn’t really have a huge problem with bullying/cyberbullying or maybe it just didn’t affect me and I didn’t notice. It wasn’t hard to see what was motivating each character to act the way they did, but it’s still unbelievable that they all did what they did. The worst part about it all is that each character didn’t do what they did because they were simply spiteful or mean-spirited, they all actually thought that they were justified in their actions. People thought that they could pass judgement on other people based on what they wanted to see more then what was actually there. Honestly, every time any of the characters did anything, there was a bad taste in my mouth afterwards.
In addition to the characters bullying one another, they all had serious communication problems. When people confronted each other they rarely mentioned the situation at all. It was like there was the unspoken understanding that they were all talking about the same incident, when often time they were not. In one case, Hazel frames Natasha for bad-mouthing Truly’s disabled siblings and Brooke confronts Natasha about it. When Brooke is talking to Natasha she never once tells Natasha what she is mad about. Instead, when Natasha acts confused all Brooke can say is, “You know what you did.” So much misunderstandings and hurtful actions could have been avoided if Brooke just told Natasha what she was upset about. I know that this is supposed be a situation that the readers are supposed to learn from, but it’s just too frustrating for me to read.
The ending was anti-climactic to say the least. The people bulliers didn’t get punished and the bullied didn’t get any redemption. I know that this is an “accurate” representation of bulliying so to speak, but it really doesn’t set up for a satisfying story.
Overall, it wasn’t a story for me. I wasn’t able to connect to any of the characters, I found all characters 2 dimentional, and the story fell flat for me. My final thoughts are that I didn’t like this book because I normally enjoy happy books with perfect endings. This book was neither happy, nor did it have a perfect ending. I wouldn’t really recommend this book for light reading, but I can see this being a really good book for a teenager or someone who may know what bullying feel like and be able to sympathize with the characters.