The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But the students have questions: Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay so long if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true? Some girls want to rally for his expulsion – and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.
As soon as I saw that there was a new Alyssa Sheinmel novel I jumped on requesting it from NetGalley where I was super excited to receive an ARC. I’ve previously read Faceless and thought it was incredibly well written so I wanted to give this a go.
For a chunk of the novel the female characters aren’t given names, instead they’re described by their traits which, although I found it hard to follow initially, I found to be an excellent way of writing. For me, it added to the idea that this could happen to anyone no matter how popular, smart etc – part of me wishes that this could have gone on for longer.
Of course it goes without saying that this is a tough book to read with mentions of violence within a relationship, self harm, Bulimia and mental ill health. If these are difficult for you I’d maybe recommend waiting until you’re in the right headspace.
This is, without a doubt, an important read and one that I hope gets a lot of attention. I think it shows that these things do happen to young people. It also makes you question your own reactions to these kinds of stories, who do you believe and why? Can you separate a person and an accusation? All of these questions will make you think for days after finishing it.
There were point where I struggled to read what was happening, I felt such a range of emotions while reading. For a book to make me feel like that was pretty incredible and I applaud Sheinmel for the writing.
I do wish there was more of a resolution at the end because I feel like it was left quite open and there are also some point where I’m not sure I completely followed who was who and what was happening. That said, the book itself was a good read.
This was a 4 star read from me and I’m definitely going to be reading more of Sheinmel’s books because she can transport me into a story and a person’s hardship.