Life UnawareAuthor: Cole Gibsen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Published: April 28th 2015 by Entangled: Teen
ARC Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Regan 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.
*I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I really enjoyed Cole Gibsen’s writing. The narration has a strong voice and the prose is very contemporary and well-written. I couldn’t put it down. Realistic and honest, Life Unaware certainly did not sugarcoat the ugly truth of bullying.
At first, I was disgusted by what a two-faced bitch Regan was. But as I read on and saw the story through Regan’s eyes, I couldn’t help but pity her. She had too much pressure on her shoulders, what with the constant nagging and controlling of her political mother and her “need” to stay at the top of the social ladder. Her anxiety disorder also didn’t help things. While it doesn’t excuse the horrible things she said and did, I easily sympathized with Regan. She was so lost and alone. It also didn’t hurt that she knew how to be humble and apologize for her mistakes.
As for the romance department, Nolan and Regan’s pairing was pretty cute and swoony, I loved their bickering and quarrels. There’s absolutely no insta-love here. In fact, they were enemies first before they really knew each other. It was kinda frustrating though, because of the secrets and lies surrounding their relationship. Looking at you, Nolan!
Speaking of Nolan, I really liked him a lot. He’s funny and sarcastic and smart. He’s also kind and stood up for Regan when she was abandoned by her friends and was being bullied. Heck, he was the only person at school talking to her when she became the school pariah. I thought Nolan Letner was freaking perfect. UNTIL Regan discovered what Nolan did. I was really disappointed and pissed at him that I wanted to pull him out of the pages and strangle him. What a user! Although in his defense, Nolan acted out of anger and a need for
revenge justice. But still! I really liked that Regan had the good sense not to forgive him immediately. I’m not saying that what he did was unforgivable and she should curse him to hell and back. I just like that she wasn’t that girl who would throw herself blindly at some guy and forgive his mistakes just because she likes him.
Life Unaware was pretty intense, too. It wasn’t just Regan’s story, but it depicts how cruel high school can be. What I liked about this book is that it showed both the sides of the bully and the victim. That sometimes, the bullies are victims, too, and they’re also suffering from their personal issues. And no, neither I nor this book tolerates bullying. It’s still a horrible and cowardly act. But Life Unaware conveys a very important message that we should try to look past the surface and see what’s underneath and not be too quick to judge. Just like what We Were Liars said, “Be a little kinder than you have to.”
It’s also a good point that it wasn’t just Regan who went through character development. Even Nolan, Regan’s mom and, hopefully, Amber all learned something and were trying to change for the better. Regan and Nolan’s project also inspired change among the other students. And I think that project is a unique and remarkable advocacy. All is well, in the end.