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