"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 a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Life Unaware is most certainly a book focused on bullying. Bullying is a difficult topic for all parents, teachers, and especially, students. Whether you were the bullied or the bully, it is surprisingly touching in many ways. Yes, this book made me cry, because it is spectacularly beautiful in its own ways. (The ending is gorgeous.) This book is really amazing.
Regan, once the bully, now the bullied, is our narrator. It is easy to feel sympathy and loathing for her. After all, we know the girls (or generally, people) like Regan who simply mock those they deemed unworthy (Like me. They called me a nerd and a bookworm, which I'm totally proud of by the way). But we also know the girls like Regan who are bullied by bullies. They are the ones who are made fun of, called a bunch of names that aren't always true, and put out in the gossip mills like a lamb to slaughter. In a strange way, it is easy to understand and empathize with Regan. Why? Well, Regan is both a bully and the bullied. Two ways, two different castes (well, there is no other way of saying that).
The romance between Nolan and Regan is good. It starts off as mutual dislike, but it turns into something real the second Regan reveals her true colors and not keep up the facade of the girl she pretends to be. Also, I clap hard for Nolan when he asked if he could kiss Regan. Yes, yes, yes. That is a piece of glory. Ask to kiss someone. Don't assume that one can kiss another without simple permission (It is just four words: Can I kiss you?). Thank you, Cole Gibsen, for this gem.
Life Unaware may be short, but it goes by perfectly fast. The plot weaves in and out of a whole lot of drama. Those who love drama will most certainly love Life Unaware. From bullying to threats (to the darker parts of the mind, like depression), the book really hits it home. There are some minor plot holes and inconsistencies that bothered me, but it isn't too bad.
The conflict is simple enough to follow along. It gets dark (as I warned before), and there are some parts that are even suspenseful. The balance between light and dark, bullying and bullied is extremely delicate, and Gibsen walks the line very well. The sadness is well balanced with the laughter.
Overall, Life Unaware is a deep and heartbreaking story that takes you along for a breathtaking ride. Cole Gibsen pulls off some great characters, and I love the little details (though some of them are overlooked and missed). I would recommend Life Unaware to those who love a lot of drama and some romance. But if you don't like reading a book about bullying or suicide (I know that some get anxieties whenever they find the triggering word), then don't read this.
Rating: Four out of Five