Before we go any further, I want you to understand this: I am not a good person.
We all want to be seen. We all want to be heard. But what happens when we’re seen and heard saying or doing the wrong things? What then?
When Winter Halperin—former spelling bee champion, aspiring writer, and daughter of a parenting expert—gets caught saying the wrong thing online, her life explodes. All across the world, people knows what she’s done, and none of them will forgive her.
With her friends gone, her future plans cut short, and her identity in shambles, Winter is just trying to pick up the pieces without hurting anyone else. She knows she messed up, but does that mean it’s okay for people to send her hate mail and death threats? Does she deserve to lose all that she’s lost? And is “I’m sorry” ever good enough?
First and foremost a novel about public shaming in the internet age, If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say is also an exploration of the power of words, the cumulative destructiveness of microaggressions, and the pressing need for empathy.
Let’s get started.
I’m not sure if I liked how cyberbullying and racism was dealt with in this book. Maybe my perspective is different because I am a part of the minority, but in my eyes the main character didn’t fully realize the wrongness in her comment, but then I also don’t think cyber-bullying people is the key to making a person realize their wrong doing. That just leads to them becoming a victim too. Most of the book dealt with Winter being a victim, than about racism. I wish more had come out of the severed friendship with one of her friends. Then we could have really talked about racism. It was nice though that she realized that it is not easy for those that don’t look a certain way. That scene at the gas station I applaud.
Overall, I think it was a good attempt at raising awareness, but it felt short. This won’t stop me from reading future books by Leila as I like some of her past novels, I just don’t like how she handled the sensitive topics in this one.
Rating: 2.5 of out 5
Note: I received this ARC as part of Miss Print’s ARC Adoption Program.