Scheerger, Sarah Lynn Are You Still There? 266 pages. Albert Whitman & Company, 2015. $9.99 Language – R (135 swear, 0 “f”), Mature Content – PG13; Violence – PG;
School violence happens, but never at your school. It only happens at other schools. Until a bomb is found. Now Gabi is knee deep in the aftermath of that bomb found near her high school as she is recruited to be part of the school's new helpline and her father investigates the case. Is the worst over? Is everyone safe? Is anyone really safe?
Are You Still There is brilliantly written. It is more thriller than horror, which was more fun to read. I experienced all of the fear and anxiety on Gabi’s side, but Scheerger writes in such a way to draw out empathy for the angry, threatening student as well. I can see the point of view of the perpetrator, and, as Gabi points out in the end, there is a better way to get that point across. The takeaways of this book are that communication and the desire to make a difference are needed and possible, but we need to do it without violence. I just wish Scheerger had done this without so much language.
HS – OPTIONAL. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen