Cooner, Donna Worthy, 275 pgs. Point (Scholastic Inc.), 2017. Language – PG (11 swears, 0 “f”), Sexual Content – PG; Violence – PG;
High school hierarchies are always built upon drama and gossip, but a new app is taking it too far. “Worthy” is available for download from the school webpage—an app that asks students to vote on relationships: is the girl worthy to be dating her boyfriend? This app is becoming just another forum for hurtful comments, another subject of school-wide gossip. At first Linden doesn’t think that voting makes a difference, but then it starts getting personal.
Cooner addresses lots of universal challenges through Linden’s story. The cyberbullying on social media, which includes anonymity as a problem because it makes people feel that they don’t have to be accountable for their comments and actions. There is lots of peer pressure from Linden’s fellow students to download and use the app, which makes the decision more difficult for those like Linden who can’t decide whether it is consistent with her values. I applaud Cooner’s success in confronting these issues, but the one that struck me the most is seen through Linden’s inner conflict. Linden struggles with insecurity, self-doubt, and self-perception. It is difficult to see yourself as you are, and as you can become, while ignoring others—no matter how much we want to. While I have not yet experienced the victory of overcoming these struggles within myself, Lindon’s story encourages me and gives me the hope that you and I will look passed the doubts presented to us by ourselves and others. As we conquer these doubts, we will shine brighter as the wonderful people we are. Be confident in your own strengths, and let that define who you are.
HS – ADVISABLE. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen