Title: Are You Still There
Author: Sarah Lynn Scheerger
Publication: September 1, 2015
Publisher: AW Teen
Genre: Teens & YA Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
After her high school is rocked by an anonymous bomb threat, “perfect student” Gabriella Mallory is recruited to work on a secret crisis helpline that may help uncover the would-be bomber’s identity.
Gabriella Mallory, AP student and perfect-daughter-in-training, stands barefoot on a public toilet for three hours while her school is on lockdown. Someone has planted a bomb and she is hiding. The bomb is defused but the would-be-bomber is still at large. And everyone at Central High School is a suspect. The school starts a top-secret crisis help line and Gabi is invited to join. When she does, she is drawn into a suspenseful game of cat and mouse with the bomber, who has unfinished business. He leaves threatening notes on campus. He makes threatening calls to the help line. And then he begins targeting Gabi directly. Is it because her father is the lead police detective on the case? Is the bomber one of her new friends. Could it be her new boyfriend with his complicated past? As the story unfolds, Gabi knows she is somehow connected to the bomber. Even worse she is part of his plan. Can Gabi reach out and stop him? Or will she be too late?
**A copy of this book was provided via Netgalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**
Going into “Are You Still There” I made sure to keep an open mind. While it kind of sounded like a school attack book, it also sounded different. If you are looking for high suspense and jaw-clenching scares… you may want to find another book. Sarah Lynn Scheerger has brought us a psychological thriller that shows you the inner workings of someone pushed a little too far and how people react differently when put in stressful situations.
Gabi is the character that you kind of get mad at. She’s the perfect student, does everything her parents want and gets a bit whiny when she has to do something that doesn’t fit the perfect mold she is use to. Annoying, if you will. But she also allows you to get excited when she does break that mold a bit. Scheerger wrapped a school scare into a coming of age story. It’s a great way to see how behaviors can effect other people. With bullying being such a big issue these days, Scheerger hit that issue on the head. Aside from some lag in the story when I wish things would go faster or be less confusing, this was a good story. The characters are fun and you suspect every single one of them at least once throughout the story. So while some may go into this book expecting lots of suspense and drama, it’s more a subtle slow increase to the ending. Scheerger has a way with words that draws you in to the story and characters and makes you feel a part of the story.
Having never read a book by Scheerger before, I’d say I would be interested to read another one in the future. “Are You Still There” was intriquing, psychological, and true to teenage drama everywhere. If you are looking for a good read to fill a rainy day, pick up this book! Four out of five stars!