by Karole Cozzo
Age Range: 12 - 18 years
Grade Level: 7 and up
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Swoon Reads (August 2, 2016)
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After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance in this swoonworthy new novel from the author of How to Say I Love You Out Loud.
The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That's all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl's suicide. Now Nikki's been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can't look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates - almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it's like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance... and everyone deserves to be loved.
“This boy is one of the only people in the world who still see me as a person” (ARC).
I really enjoyed this book. Like y’all, I really, really, enjoyed this book. And, to be honest, I’d been putting it off for a little while. Not only because of school work, but because I was becoming less and less interested as time went on. However, once I started this book I really could not stop. It begins with the Nikki running into the brother of the girl whose pictures were leaked, and Pax commenting to her about some aspect of life and the beauty of it. Sort of. He treats her like she’s human, which hasn’t happened for some time (months) and he’s just so stinkin’ sweet. (cue the fan girl squealing because y’all he’s my literal soul mate) This is a story about the other side of bullying, family relationships, and (as cheesy as it sounds) how to keep rolling after a fall.
I could literally fan girl all day long about Pax. Pax is confined to a wheelchair after a car accident. He’s the eternal optimist, generally happy dude. He’s sort of tasked himself with making Nikki see the life after a negative defining moment. He takes her to fairs, and impromptu sushi dates, and tries not to fall in love with her. Because the negative moment doesn’t make her who she is, and he knows that. He works to help he forgive herself, and offer up forgiveness. He is what we call a round character in English class. Fully fleshed out. Capable of knowing and growing and being. Dynamic and lovely.
Nikki, like Pax, is capable of growing and knowing and being. After her fall resulted in a very public form of hate, and a sort of outcast from her family, she’s pretty much done. She’s switched schools, lacking friends, and lacking support from herm om and dad. I felt for her. I felt for her so incredibly much. I’m amazed that I felt for the the capacity that I did, and the Other Side Of The Story was amazing. And important. Because then I got the whole story.
The reader gets to see the how friendships develop, and how life changes, and the depth of human mistakes and insecurities. We get to see how everyone involved turns out, and how not everything ends that way we want it to. But that makes it real and true.
Overall, I really like this book. The plot is centered around the development of Nikki, and the aftermath of the bullying. With the swoon-worthy characters and the great story line, I totally recommend this book.