Book Review: Unfriended by Rachel Vail

In middle school, nothing is more important than friendship.

When Truly is invited to sit at the Popular Table with the group she has dreamed of joining, she can hardly believe her luck. Everyone seems so nice, so kind to one another. But all is not as it seems with her new friends, and soon she's caught in a maelstrom of lies, misunderstandings, accusations and counter-accusations, all happening very publicly in the relentless, hyperconnected social media world from which there is no escape.

Six eighth-graders, four girls and two boys, struggle to understand and process their fractured glimpses into one another's lives as they find new ways to disconnect, but also to connect, in Rachel Vail's richest and most searching book.

Release Date: September 25, 2014
Age Group: Middle Grade
Source: Review copy from publisher
Reviewed By: Kelli

Unfriended was a great read.  It really took me back, way back, to my own middle school years.  That feeling of not fitting in, and so desperately wanting to, is something that's hard to forget.  

So it was with great empathy that I understood Truly's situation.  On a whim, one of the popular girls invites her to sit at their table for lunch.  Truly turns her back on her best friend Hazel to join the "it" crowd.  And Hazel doesn't really take the rejection well.

What follows is a story of friendship, both real and imagined, bullying, and redemption.  I liked the way Vail resolved the conflict and felt that Unfriended accurately portrayed the friendship dynamics of middle school.  

Unfriended was a fast read, and is not to be missed.  One of my favorite lines from the book comes towards the end when Natasha says to her mother:
"'You make me hate myself, and then it's like, all I am is hate.  All I have, all I can put out there into the world is hate.'"   --- Unfriended, page 269
When I read that passage, I found myself tearing up.  This is why girls can be so mean to each other.  It all comes from their own damaged self-esteem, and often stems from their relationships with their mothers.  It was a powerful realization, especially for a middle grade novel.

I really enjoyed Unfriended and would definitely recommend it. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm so afraid of my girls encountering mean girls. Sounds like an excellent read.


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