ABOUT THE BOOK
For every important decision in her life, fifteen-year-old Chris Miller relies on silence rather than courage. In her rough Bridgeport neighborhood, Chris bites her tongue when her best friend gets sent to juvenile detention for a crime she didn’t commit. As a scholarship kid at St. Catherine’s Prep, Chris acquiesces to ‘drinkstagram’ at tony sleepover parties. At home with her overbearing mother, she swallows her questions about her father’s identity. Chris understands that quiet insecurity isn’t the most valiant approach to life, but it gets her through the day unscathed. Until she’s sexually assaulted.
In the aftermath, Chris’s tenuous happiness crumbles alongside her grades, yet she can’t find the courage to report the assault. Chris is forced to volunteer at an afterschool program for low-income families to maintain her scholarship. Catapulted back to the very neighborhood she struggled to escape, Chris finds her family thrust into the crosshairs of a gang war. When one of the students from her afterschool program is put at risk, Chris discovers just how much damage her silence can cause. Ultimately, she must decide if she will remain quiet as others call the shots and remain a victim or if she can forge the strength to stand up, speak the truth and call herself a survivor.
Caroline Schley certainly knows how to evoke a number of emotions in this novel. Filled with volatile subjects such as sexual assault, classicism, and alcohol abuse to name a few, this book has left a lasting impression on me. I can only assume as a teacher herself, she has been exposed to some of the teenage behavior she writes about.
Christopher “Chris” Miller is basically thrown into a new world of wealth and entitlement by receiving a scholarship to St. Catherine’s Prep. As you can guess, she’s riddled with extreme behaviors and activities that pose a detriment to her naivety and innocence. Namely, an arrogant and irresponsible bad boy senior and his so-called nasty friends. In addition, when Chris tries to explain her incident to her new girlfriends, not all support her and she falls into a downward spiral of despair and bad grades.
I could have wrung Chris’s neck a couple of times as she ignored her friends’ warnings about Caldwell, but at fifteen years old you think you are invincible especially when a guy pays attention to you. My heart broke for her when she tried to tell her friends what happened to her and only a couple came through for her. As she finally finds the support she needs and as a volunteer for Petey’s dad’s Bridgeport House to support low-income families, she starts to find her strength again. And boy, does she let some people have it. Way to go, Chris!!
I definitely have my favorite supporting characters. Petey is a true gentleman and a wonderful friend and more which I can’t divulge. I would have liked to have heard more about his girlfriend, Becca, though. Ainsley is another good friend who proved her support in many ways. Chris’s mom, Celeste, is a bit intense and pushy, but she truly has her reasons as Chris finds out more about her absent father. As for Sterling, we find out she has many issues of her own she needs to deal with first before she can be there for Chris. I want to add that Mr. Whitman, the science teacher, and Ms. Amsling, the principal, are very encouraging toward Chris and are great adult role models.
This is one of the better prep schools, rich vs. poor students, tropes that I have read recently which is saying a lot since there are so many out there right now. Though it is YA fiction, the subject matter may have trigger warnings. With that being said, I believe teens and adults should read this very emotional and serious novel.
Thank you to Ms. Schley for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
- $20 Amazon gift card
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Caroline Schley is a YA author and high school science teacher. Originally from New York City, she currently lives in Madrid and will happily travel long distances for white-sand beaches, high-quality chocolate, and alpine hiking trails.