Are You Still There by Sarah Lynn Scheerger

I was sent this ARC by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was attracted to this book by the amazing premise. There is a lot of school violence that has happened this past year and to read a book that talked about that seemed like a rare gem.

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This cover is fear-inducing. I can’t even imagine what someone would feel if they experienced something like this

Goodreads/ Amazon

Rating- 4.5/5 stars

Publisher- Albert Whitman

Pages- 288 (Hardcover)

If you haven’t read the book and might be intrigued, here’s a synopsis that could help-

After her high school is rocked by an anonymous bomb threat, “perfect student” Gabriella Mallory is recruited to work on a secret crisis helpline that may help uncover the would-be bomber’s identity.

Gabriella Mallory, AP student and perfect-daughter-in-training, stands barefoot on a public toilet for three hours while her school is on lockdown. Someone has planted a bomb and she is hiding. The bomb is defused but the would-be-bomber is still at large. And everyone at Central High School is a suspect. The school starts a top-secret crisis help line and Gabi is invited to join. When she does, she is drawn into a suspenseful game of cat and mouse with the bomber, who has unfinished business. He leaves threatening notes on campus. He makes threatening calls to the help line. And then he begins targeting Gabi directly. Is it because her father is the lead police detective on the case? Is the bomber one of her new friends. Could it be her new boyfriend with his complicated past? As the story unfolds, Gabi knows she is somehow connected to the bomber. Even worse she is part of his plan. Can Gabi reach out and stop him? Or will she be too late?

This book kept me on edge the entire time I read it. I read it mostly at night and it definitely did not let me sleep for many of them. It’s told from dual perspectives, from the bomber and our main protagonist, Gabriella. I wasn’t too impressed by our main character until much later but the opening was the perfect hook.

The pacing for the book varies between middling and fast depending on the appropriate moments. The themes that are discussed in this story vary from suicide to school shootings and all of them were done tastefully, as close to reality as possible so that by the end of the book I thought it had been based on a true story.

There was a potpourri of characters and I loved the relationship between Gabi and her sister. Sibling relationships aren’t always perfect and the one between the sisters was just that. Gabi’s the straight-A student and her sister is the rebel. Seeing that relationship evolve into something more healthy, where they help each other out was the sweetest thing in the entire book. Also the relationship that Gabi has with her best friend changes for the better and it was just so great.

The ending was outrageously amazing. I mean, I was swiping pages so fast I surprised myself. The entire scenario was disturbing but it ended well and I was just so shook up but happy after it was over. I can’t imagine what it would be to be caught in a situation where someone was shooting up a school or there was a bomb threat and my heart goes out to all those who have been in that situation or have lost someone who was caught in that situation.

I really really enjoyed this book for its authenticity and would highly recommend that everyone read it.

Definitely a 4.5/5 stars.

If you would like to read this book, it’ll be available at your nearest bookstore and Amazon. This book was released on September 1, 2015.

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