Are You Still There, by Sarah Lynn Scheerger

18 Sep

25361860Format: e-ARC, 288 pages

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Published: September 1, 2015

ISBN: 9780807545577

Genre: Teens & YA

Back cover blurb: Every year it takes the teachers until winter break
To learn my name. That’s why I call myself
I am a stranger. To everyone.

no one knows me.
Or notices me. Just wait.

They will notice me soon.

The day the bomb threat put the school on lockdown, Gabi was trapped in the girls’ room. It seems everything she’d been working for–the AP classes, the college applications–was about to go up in smoke.

The police found the bomb in time, but they didn’t find the bomber. Out of two thousand students at Central, the one who’s ready to explode is still at large.

The bomber could be anyone–one of Gabi’s friends or the guy she rejected or the person leaving ominous notes all over the school. It could even be one of the anonymous callers who calls the school helpline where Gabi volunteers.

And the more messages Gabi gets, the more she suspects she’s part of Stranger’s plan. Could she be the only one who can stop another attack? Or will she be the first victim of Stranger’s revenge?

My review: The subject matter of this book is important, dealing as it does with bullying and school violence. I was expecting more of a thriller, and while there were red herrings which pointed to other students at times, I had a pretty good idea from early on who “Stranger” was. The crime did take a backseat, though, to Gabi’s social life and budding romance, but I didn’t have a problem with that. I liked Gabi and could easily relate to the other characters. However, I had some qualms about some of the police procedure at times – I would have expected a metal detector would be installed after the first threat, and worried that the lead detective wasn’t easily contactable by phone – and I thought some word choices were odd towards the end of the book. I also was dying to add a question mark at the end of the title!

This was my first book by Scheerger, and I found her writing style smooth and easy to read. YA readers should have no difficulty, and there is nothing particularly graphic here. It was nice to see Gabi and her fellow students rallying together to participate in the crisis hotline and trying to include loners and students from other cliques into their circles. These are good messages for readers to take away.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5





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