My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Sometimes one mistake can change everything.
Emily doesn’t know why she froze. Or why Lucas did too. Afterward, she thought of different ways to rationalize it. But the truth is, they could have helped Belinda, and they didn’t. It’s a mistake they’ll both have to live with.
Sometimes doing nothing is the only way to cope.
Belinda doesn’t want to talk about what happened. Because when she does, it feels like it’s happening all over again.
Sometimes good can come from bad.
Emily and Lucas’s punishment is community service at a center for people with disabilities. People like Belinda. Soon they feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. Like they could help not only those at the center but also each other.
But when Belinda returns to school, Emily and Lucas have to figure out if they can do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt most.
Beware spoilers ahead!
“Choose carefully the people whose approval you seek.”
I’d first heard of this book through twitter. I follow the publishers and found all these beautiful quotes taken from the book. After reading several of them I added it to my shelf. I then proceeded to put it on hold from my local library.
This book is written in first person. The story narrates with Emily and Belinda’s point of view. The book starts off with Emily’s point of view as she explains that she and Lucas are both told by their school to do some community service at a center with people with disabilities. Emily and Lucas were given two options. They could do some office work or work in a classroom in which the adults with disabilities learn how to interact. They both choose the class.
For several months Belinda has not left her home. She spends her days watching Pride and Prejudice and other classics. She lives with her grandmother and mother. Her grandmother is perfectly fine with the fact that Belinda has not gone anywhere for months. Her grandmother prefers Belinda to stay home where she knows that she is safe.
Prior to the events of the book Lucas, Belinda and Emily were at a football game. While Emily was trying to cool off she saw Belinda with a guy who had her pinned against the fence. She froze and left. She tried telling a teacher but the teacher didn’t hear her. Then she sees that Lucas has come from the same area she just saw Belinda and she assumes that Lucas handled it. When Emily leaves the game she sees some police cars.
A few weeks after this Emily has not seen Belinda. One day she decides to ask Belinda’s friends if she was in school. They reply that they haven’t seen her for awhile. For weeks she is guilty over the fact that she didn’t do anything and is worried because Belinda has been absent. Eventually the guidance councilor calls Emily and reveals that she knows that Emily saw Belinda and did nothing. Emily also finds out that Lucas also did nothing. Belinda saved herself.
During the first class Emily and Lucas are introduced to the adults and do an interview exercise. Lucas does not make eye contact with Emily let alone talk to her. This angers her quite a bit. And at first she is unnecessarily rude to him. This is partly because he doesn’t acknowledge her and he’s a football player most of whom are jerks with giant egos. They do get along but after some time.
Belinda has an obsession with Colin Firth an actor who plays Mr. Darcy in the version of Pride and Prejudice that she loves. She thinks that sometimes while she’s watching the movie he looks at her specifically. She doesn’t like to bring this up to other people because they will think she is crazy. Her disability is not labeled in the book. The only thing you know is that she has some problems reading, writing and with math.
This story is about not being to quick to judge, get all sides of the story and about life. Throughout this book Emily, Lucas, Belinda and Anthony grow beautifully. They form a beautiful relationships with each other.
Lets talk about some of the things that I did not like in this book. At first I didn’t like Emily nor Belinda. Emily was a bit rude and Belinda was stuck up. I grew to like them as the book went on.
The guidance counselor was so stupid! It was obvious that the reason Emily and Lucas did nothing was because they were scared. But for some reason she didn’t realize that. Also when Emily went to tell that teacher, said teacher should’ve called Emily back and asked to repeat what she said. But she didn’t. Their punishment didn’t even make sense! That idiotic guidance counselor seemed to think that the reason Emily and Lucas didn’t help Belinda was because they don’t like people with disabilities.
The guy that attempted to assault Belinda is known for having a bad reputation. He was rumored to be involved in drugs and possibly went to jail. Yet the police did not keep a better eye on him.
I felt that the book kind of dragged at some points. And some of the plot conflicts should’ve been resolved earlier. Specifically with Belinda’s mother standing up to Belinda’s grandmother. And when Emily revealed to her friends what really happened that night I thought that their reactions should’ve been different.
I really enjoyed reading about the classes! They were so much fun and well thought it by the author. I liked how the author didn’t name Belinda’s disability. So that readers wouldn’t label her. Emily’s conviction to help Belinda and her ambition to change some things about their school so awesome! I love reading about advocates. Lucas and Anthony were awesome! I liked how Belinda, Emily and Lucas come to terms with what happened that night and work on their relationships with one-another. I liked how the author was able to add a distinct difference between reading Emily and Belinda’s chapters. The play was also awesome!
Overall this was a good book! I would recommend it to everybody because we can all relate to some of the themes, situations, and characters.