Review: Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

Life Unaware by Cole Gibsen

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.

Title: Life Unaware
Author: Cole Gibsen
Publication date: April 28, 2015

I received Life Unaware from Entangled Teen in exchange for an honest review.

Regan is not an easy character to like. While her anxiety disorder and her controlling mother make her more sympathetic, I had trouble getting past her Mean Girl status. It’s politically incorrect to say this, but I didn’t feel sorry for Regan when her bullying began. It quickly gets worse, and no one deserves what Regan experiences, but at the very beginning, it’s just Regan getting a taste of how everyone else around her has felt for probably years. We all love the movie Mean Girls, but in reality it’s just a pretty name for a bully. Her friend Christy, when she turns on Regan, says that karma’s a bitch. And she’s right. Regan isn’t a nice, friendly popular girl before she loses her status. Afraid of losing her spot on the cheerleading squad, she digs up some dirt on a friend. She does hesitate to use the girl’s eating disorder and stint in rehab against her, but when it comes down to it, she’s willing. It doesn’t matter that Regan doesn’t care that much about cheerleading, that she’s only doing it because of her mother. She’s old enough to take responsibility for her own actions but she’s too caught up in popularity, her own anxiety, and bowing to the pressure her mother puts on her to do it.

So Regan’s a bully and she finds out that it’s not so much fun being on the other side. It’s probably the last thing she ever expected would happen to her. The events in Life Unaware seem to unfold over a very short period of time, although I’m not sure exactly how much time does pass. I think it would have been better, and more realistic, if the bullying continued for a longer period. As it is, Regan isn’t alone for very long before Nolan breaks down her barriers and she starts hanging out with him. He might not have the social standing her old friends did, but he’s a real life boy and she’s never had a boyfriend or dated before (by choice). I did enjoy their scenes together but didn’t care much about Nolan’s side story concerning his ex-girlfriend. It, like Regan’s anxiety and a few other minor plot points, seemed to be just thrown into the book to cover more issues. They all tied into each other in the end, but as I was reading, I just didn’t care about the Important Issue of the Moment.

So basically the lesson in Life Unaware is that even popular, not-so-nice kids can become the victims of bullies (and change for the better!) Did it work? Somewhat. I liked Regan by the end, but I thought there was too much to wade through to get there. The ending is super cheesy. I get what the author was going for, but that definitely didn’t work for me. It seemed like something you would see only in a movie but that just doesn’t happen in real life.

3 stars