Thursday, March 19, 2015

Review: Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen
Regan Flay has been talking about you.
Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother's "plan" for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she's ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.
Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.
The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend's hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan's going through, but what nobody knows is that Regan isn't really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she's barely holding it together under her mom's pressure. But the consequences of Regan's fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched...
Especially Regan Flay.


Publishes in US: April 28th 2015 by Entangled: Teen
Genre: ya contemp
Source: entangled teen via netgalley
Series? no

Buy it: Amazon | B & N | Book Depository | B-A-M |IndieBound | Powells

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   Life Unaware appealed to me because of the bullying issue. I read another where it was from the stand point of the bullier and I did end up feeling for that person. And it sounds like I will end up understanding Regan. From the synopsis she does seem like someone easy to dislike but it also shows the backfire and the pressure that is too much for her from her mom. Not that there is ever any excuse for bullying other people, there are reasons, and sometimes those can be enough to bridge the gap with me reading to understand and hope for change in that person and the way that they treat others. 

   Sure enough, I discover that Regan has an anxiety disorder, and her mom is a politician who seems concerned with image and public opinion than her daughter's happiness. She puts a lot of pressure and Regan is stretched with grades, cheerleading, volunteering. She is trying to juggle getting on everyone's good side, and that is where the nasty texts come from. She will talk about one person in order to gain their approval. Then she'll suck up to the person the texts were about. It really is fairly typical teen behavior, she is just the one that got caught.

    The fallout though is intense. Everyone jumps on the band wagon and ostracizes her. This only compounds her anxiety and she is taking her pills and going to the nurse office really often. As the synopsis mentions, Nolan, another outcast takes a new interest in her. They have chemistry but they also have the like/hate/lust thing going for them. They never really crossed social paths much besides him being the "weirdo" brother of Regan's friend. He talks to her, teases (in good natured way) and I speculated early that he's had a crush on her for a while and just now able to talk to her. Another thought was maybe he understood the pain of being on the outside and he wanted to be there in the way that he knew how. 

    It comes out that some of the girls who printed the texts and started the cyber portion on facebook were hiding things of their own. They felt like at any moment their secret could be exposed and were afraid of the fall out. Like I said earlier, nothing excuses bullying, but so often there is a lot of pain or insecurity on both sides.

    I liked the growth in Regan, when she has to face some of the people her texts targeted. She said she didn't really have anything against it, just writing without thinking and never planned for it to be seen. In apologizing and seeing other's pain, she realizes how she effected others. She didn't want to be an object of fear, and she realized just how much she was faking things. 

    So I love the idea that Nolan and Regan had in order to get her apology and convey other stuff she'd seen issue with and wanted to try to repair. I also had a pretty good idea before it came out what went on with Nolan and his ex Jordan, but it was an interesting angle, giving him more depth to me as well as the reasoning for being so understanding. 
    I also liked how the friendship with her and Payton eventually she remembered the kind of person that Regan really was. She needed time to cool off, and reassurances, but I was happy to see that she was big enough to admit she was wrong and stand by her friend. 

    One of my favorite moments and quotes was when Regan thought "I only hoped that she would get to stop pretending and live her life how she wanted. Each time I forced myself into the mold of what my mother wanted me to be, I felt myself break. If she kept up her act forever, it would only be a matter of time before the broken pieces of her real self were too small to ever be put back together. I didn't know what happened to people when they were unfixable. I only hoped I never had to find out." 

    Now, most of the book seems pretty realisitic in regards to mental illness, but I did have an issue when she made the "decision" to stop hiding behind the pills, and made them seem all of the sudden not necessary. Now, yes, I will say that with meds like that you can be dependent and use them as a crutch, but there are people and times when you can't just decide, hey I don't need to take my anxiety/ depression/psych meds because that can lead to serious spirals. Just so that is clear, and it didn't when she finally admitted to others besides adults about her anxiety disorder and the panic meds. 

   The ending managed to get my attention and I liked how things wrapped up. The romance continued to be sweet, but they did have a pretty big challenge to overcome. I also liked how it went down regarding the friendships regained or new ones because of her idea. 

Bottom Line: Worthwhile contemporary, giving a new twist on the issue of bullying.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Has a note, letter or text ever gotten out that you didn't want others to see?


  1. I have read a few books on bullying lately, too, and while they are hard for me to read, I also have enjoyed seeing different points of views, and actually seeing that sometimes, even the bullies aren't feeling so good, neither about what they're doing nor about their own lives.
    I get what you're saying about stopping to take medication, I think that can be just as dangerous as auto-medicating can be...
    Great review, Brandi! Have a terrific Thursday :)

  2. I like the idea that the bullying gets turned on her, but I usually stay away from bullying book. A note has, that I was trying to pass in class, which was embarrassing, haha.

  3. I'm not really in the mood to read stories about people being in college but the subject of bullying is interesting - both my daughters tell me things about their school that have my jaw drop on the floor. Thankfully, none of my secret texts/letters have ever escaped my watch ;)

  4. There is never a valid excuse for bullying, but I think with its prominence lately people often forget that the Bullys are not always doing it just to be mean but to hide something of their own... again nothing excuses it but there are reasons and I like that books can explore that. Great review!

  5. Hmm, It doesn't sound to me as if this book always deals with the issues in a totally realistic way which, if this is indeed the case, would annoy me. Still, good that the issues are at least being raised, that mental illness and the whole issue of bullying aren't as big a taboo subject as they once were..

  6. I haven't read a book like this. I think a political contemporary is next on my will-try list

  7. This does sound like a good read. I read a book a couple of years ago from the bully's view point and it was an eye opening experience. I will have to check this one out.

  8. Sounds like an intriguing read. Important topic too.

  9. I absolutely love the cover for this one and your review makes me want to read it SO SO BAD! Great review Brandi :)

  10. Knew this one would be to your liking

  11. The bullying aspect is such a hard one for me to read, but this sounds like you enjoyed it and that it was realistic and hopeful. The romance sounds like it ended up being sweet too.
    Great review, Brandi! :)

  12. This sounds like it was an enjoyable read. Bullying is a aspect that is becoming a rising topic to write about. And I like books that explore both view points. They can be eye openers. Lovely review!

  13. This would be a hard read for me. Bullying is such a sad subject. I had to do a research paper about it in an English class, once. So many heart wrenching stories. I'm glad people write books about it to help with awareness. Thank you for your review.

  14. Most excellent review! Sounds like a tough, but very worthwhile, book to check out. Bullying is a tough topic, but very eye-opening when it's done well. It's a good reminder that the ones doing the bullying are crying out for help, too.

  15. I don't think I could read this one. I think it would just upset me, but I am glad you ultimately liked it :)

  16. I like the sound of this book! I had seen it around somewhere before, but not had much time to focus on it itself. It sounds like a good one about bullying, which I find is a very important issue myself. And I like the idea of us being able to see the reasons why the bully might be doing what they do as well.


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