Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe, aka Viv, was a model student and daughter for most of her life. As she headed toward the penultimate year of her high school career, nevertheless, her life began falling apart. The beginning of the end was when she fell in love with the wrong guy and trusted him with a rather personal (::ahem:: nude) photo of herself. After the breakdown that resulted from the photo being shared all over social media, Viv’s life started to unravel even further… Her parents no longer trusted her, she didn’t really have many friends, and panic attacks crept up out of nowhere. Because her grades started to suffer, too, she feared that she would never get into a good college and had ruined her life entirely. And, just when it seemed things couldn’t get any worse, Viv realized that her parents’marriage was beyond saving — but had no idea how to break the news to her mother.
Not only does this story serve as a great warning of the dangers of sexting, but it is also a great examination of the power of love, trust, friendship, and self-forgiveness. I can only hope this book makes it into the hands of the young people who need it.
If you look back over my reviews through the years, you will notice quite a bit of doom and gloom — dystopian fiction, post-apocalyptic/survival stories, and realistic/depressing novels tend to be my bread and butter. I have found that reading and/or listening to too many depressing stories in a row can actually affect my mood, though, so it’s nice to throw a story like this into the mix. While it had enough to satisfy my strange cravings for doom and gloom, this book left me with an overall feeling of hope. Georgia was a great example of the fact that, while we can’t control what happens to us, we absolutely have control over the way we react to our circumstances.
Though Georgia was reeling from the loss of her mother, she was also determined to follow her mother’s final advice to “be brave.” For Georgia, that meant creating a list of fifteen things she wanted to accomplish — like approaching the boy she had secretly been crushing on. In the context of her mother’s recent passing, one could easily call it a bucket list. I preferred Georgia’s take, nevertheless, that this was not a list of things to do before she died so much as a list of things to do so that she could truly live. And while I certainly don’t wish my mother had died while I was in high school, I do wish that I had had the epiphany to stop caring so much what other people thought and to simply focus on living life to the fullest before I reached my 30s. Granted, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had come out of my shell sooner… but I lament the time I wasted on caring what everyone else thought when my choices would only, ultimately, effect me.