Author: Sarah Darer Littman
Published: April 28th 2015 by Scholastic Press
Source: ARC courtesy of the publisher for an honest review
"He says: You're an awful person.
He says: What makes you think I would ever ask you out?
He says: The world would be a better place without you in it.
Lara just got told off on Facebook.
She thought that Christian liked her, that he was finally going to ask her to his school's homecoming dance. They've been talking online for weeks, so what's with the sudden change? And where does he get off saying horrible things on her wall? Even worse - are they true?
It's been a long time since Lara's felt this bad, this depressed, this ugly. She's worked really hard to become pretty and happy - and make new friends after what happened in middle school.
Bree used to be best friends with overweight, depressed Lara, but constantly listening to Lara's issues got to be too much. Secretly, Bree's glad Christian called Lara out. Lara's not nearly as amazing as people think. But no one realized just how far Christian's harsh comments would push Lara. Not even Bree.
As online life collides with real life, things spiral out of control, and not just for Lara. Because when the truth starts to come together, the backlash is even more devastating than anyone could have ever imagined."
Thoughts: Looking at the cover, you'd think this might be a cute yet realistic read. Adorable iPhone cover, pretty colors, polka-dots, but what actually lies inside the book is anything but cute. Brutal? Cruel? Often hard to read? Yes, it's all of the above. BACKLASH will make you angry and will draw emotions out of you that you didn't think you had. It will make you feel all the things you should feel when you hear about cyber-bullying and bullying in general. From the writing to the content, it's a book that I truly think should be read by all teenagers and adults alike.
First off, I have to mention how amazing and brave the author is for writing such a powerful novel. Littman tells the story through multiple points of views, so you end up with the whole story and not just one person's perspective. I love that she does this. You cannot help but hurt for Lara, especially with the way Christian publicly destroys her emotions on Facebook. You also get to experience the book from Bree's perspective. She's suppose to be Lara's best friend, yet she is neither a best nor her friend in general. Sadly, you also get to see what it's like being Lara's sister (Sydney) and Bree's brother (Liam). They were merely victims in this war, casualties if you will, and unfortunately have to face all of it from the front of the line.
This story reminds me of something similar that happened almost a decade ago. For spoilers sake, I won't say whose story it is, but BACKLASH affected me just as much as the real one. That's how real this journey was for me. Lara's pain, Sydney and Liam's anger and frustration, and surprisingly enough, Bree's place in all of this. I actually felt bad for her, even though I somewhat loathed her. Honestly, a lot of her actions are because of her upbringing, and though she's old enough to know better, you can't exactly completely blame her. While I'm not a parent, I cannot fathom how someone can raise their child with so much hate. Though these characters are fictitious, there are people like Bree's mother out there, and that is what pains me the most. Had I been Sydney's mother, I would've unleashed the same kind of fury her parents did in the novel.
BACKLASH truly touched me in many ways. It brings up the issue of cyber-bullying and sheds light on every angle. This is my first time reading a novel by Sarah Darer Littman and won't be my last. Every teacher, parent, counselor, random neighbor, etc. should have a copy of this novel in their library and share it with as many people as possible.