ARC Review: Life Unaware-Cole Gibsen


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Release Date: April 28, 2015

Publisher: Entangled Teen

cooltext1712921505 copyRegan Flay has been talking about you.

Regan Flay is on the cusp of achieving her control-freak mother’s “plan” for high school success―cheerleading, student council, the Honor Society—until her life gets turned horribly, horribly upside down. Every bitchy text. Every bitchy email. Every lie, manipulation, and insult she’s ever said have been printed out and taped to all the lockers in school.

Now Regan has gone from popular princess to total pariah.

The only person who even speaks to her is her former best friend’s hot but socially miscreant brother, Nolan Letner. Nolan thinks he knows what Regan’s going through, but what nobody knows is that Regan isn’t really Little Miss Perfect. In fact, she’s barely holding it together under her mom’s pressure. But the consequences of Regan’s fall from grace are only just beginning. Once the chain reaction starts, no one will remain untouched…

Especially Regan Flay.

cooltext1719331023 copy3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Entangled.

Life Unaware is a hard-hitting introspective look at bullying that turns the lens on the bully and what would happen if they received what they dished out. Life Unaware reads almost like a diary, emotionally gripping, and brutally honest. Regan’s world crumbles and everything she knew is called into question. What happens when the bully is forced to confront the people they harassed? Would the harasser change with a different world view? Cole Gibsen sets out to answer these questions and many more about the nature of the human heart and what leads it to hurt, taunt, and attack peers.

PROS:

  • Regan Flay is a terrible person. She talks about people behind their backs, spread rumors, causes drama, and destroys lives. She’s a generally nasty person who has been taught by her mother that being cutthroat is the only way to get ahead in life. Take out your opponents, strike before they can counterattack, and never let them see you cry. Regan has an image to maintain and if she doesn’t her future is on the line. Regan has to be PERFECT. Anything less and she’s a failure, not only to herself but her friends, her mother, everyone. What I loved about Regan’s character is that she knows she’s a bad person, that she treats people like they’re worthless and that they don’t deserve her animosity. When all hell breaks loose, she feels that whatever hurt she suffers is justified because she knows the pain she’s inflicted better than anyone else. Regan is a mean girl but that doesn’t mean she’s not a sympathetic character. Regan suffers from acute anxiety and peer pressure. She nearly has a panic attack every time she enters the school, she’s just as scared as the rest of them of messing it up and dropping her facade of perfection. You feel every ounce of Regan’s fear. The rapid beating of her heart, the heavy breathing, the panic and foreboding that the harassment is inevitable. The urge to disappear, to end it is overwhelming and consuming. 
  • Regan goes through a drastic transformation as a human being. She’s humbled, battered and tormented by the same people she’d done the same to. Regan’s entire perspective on life shifts. When she’s able to see things from another person’s shoes, she learns to appreciate what little kindness there is in the world. Regan desperately wants to be a better person and through her trauma discovers that she was never truly living and had no idea who she was. Regan lived her life for other’s to please them, to impress them, to exceed their expectations. Regan learns to live for herself and what it means to respect, appreciate and admire others. 
  • The Life Unaware Project film was heartbreaking. The pain washes over you in a storm of emotional carnage. You can sense the impending doom and the disastrous effects. 
  • The graffiti therapy is a brilliant and poetic idea. At my university, we have a stall where people ask advice about sexual assault and strangers respond. This is not graffiti, it’s not vandalism, it’s therapy and has the potential to heal countless people that have been victimized by slander on bathroom walls and in general. 
  • Nolan is an enigma. One moment he’s charming, playful, light-hearted and the next he’s guarded and pensive. Nolan has experienced a lot and had his share of bullying and trauma. He’s talented, compassionate, and sort of delectable in his weird way.

CONS:

  • There were a few subplots that could have been beneficial to the plot to explore. They were interesting, thought-provoking and though somewhat expected, would have been interesting to see play out. Lesbians in Catholic school and the terror associated with coming out in that environment.
  • Nolan’s empathy towards Regan was unexpected and unexplained. His decision to be nice to her after years of teasing felt random and suspicious. 
  • The retaliation against Regan was shockingly tame and blew over way too quickly. High school drama moves fast but this was a little too easy. Forgiveness was very easy to obtain. There weren’t really any grudges. That felt unrealistic. 
  • Payton as the BFF faded out into the background. She didn’t have an extremely developed personality or memorable character. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

BreakdownThirteenReasonsWhyEvery-Ugly-Word-by-Aimee-L.-SalterFalling by Design_high

 

 

 

 

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Pleasant reading,

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