Title: I Swear
Author: Lane Davis
Published: September 4th 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Source: ARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review
"Who’s to blame when bullying leads to suicide? A gripping exploration of crucial importance seeks answers in and out of the courtroom.
After years of abuse from her classmates, Leslie Gatlin decided she had no other options and took her own life. Now her abusers are dealing with the fallout.
When Leslie's parents file a wrongful death lawsuit against their daughter's tormenters, the proceedings uncover the systematic cyber bullying and harassment that occurred. The ringleader of the accused girls, Macie, maintains they are innocent. In her mind, Leslie chose be the coward they always knew she was.
Jillian, Katherine, and Beth try to keep their stories straight and shift the blame, as Jake, Leslie's only true friend, tries to make sense of what happened. As the events leading up to her death unfold, it becomes clear that Leslie may have taken her own life, but her bullies took everything else.
Told in alternating perspectives and through well-paced flashbacks, this timely novel sheds light on both the victims of bullying and the consequences bullies face."
First line: "Leslie Gatlin couldn't believe the words she was reading on the screen."
Thoughts: Heartbreaking, raw, and so incredibly moving, I SWEAR takes you on a tragic tale of how bullying can affect not just the victim's life, but also the bully's...or in this case, the bullies'.
I cannot tell you how much this book broke my heart and touched me. The tragic truth is this book can very much be a nonfiction novel because stories like this exist. People should know and read about how bullying can ruin someone's life and how there are consequences for one's actions.
The author does an impeccable job of not only switching points of views, but also jumping from present tense, to past, and back again. Had this not been done well, the novel would have been a disaster. Thank goodness this is not the case because I really enjoyed reading all the POVs, no matter how hard or cruel.
Of all the stories, Jake's and Beth's moved me the most. Their stories are so opposite, in the sense that Jake wants to save Leslie - the girl who commits suicide-, and Beth wants nothing to do with her. At the same time, both characters are similar in the sense that they don't know what to do or when/how things got so bad. The parts they played in this novel completely tore me apart. Here's two genuinely good people who just lost their way and now have to pay the price.
Macie. The ringleader, the instigator, the mastermind. I am so grateful she was not one of the points of views. Talk about a heartless monster. I honestly don't think she felt any remorse for the part she played in Leslie's life. The only person she cared about was herself and boy, did she do a fabulous job of playing the innocent "friend". Believe me when I say I have never read about a character more cruel than Macie. Eek, indeed.
If you're a fan of Jay Asher's THIRTEEN REASONS WHY, this book is right up your alley. I'm not going to lie and say it's an easy read. It's not. I was in tears 10 pages in, but this really is a novel everyone should read at least once in their life.