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Until It Hurts to Stop

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When you can’t trust anyone, how can you ever feel safe?

In seventh grade, Maggie Camden was the class outcast. Every day, the other girls tripped her, pinched her, trapped her in the bathroom, told her she would be better off dead. Four years have passed since then, and Maggie’s tormentors seem to have moved on. The ringleader of them all, Raleigh Barringer, even moved out of town. But Maggie has never stopped watching for attacks, and every laugh still sounds like it’s at her expense. The only time Maggie feels at peace is when she’s hiking up in the mountains with her best friend, Nick. Lately, though, there’s a new sort of tension between the two of them—a tension both dangerous and delicious. But how can Maggie expect anything more out of Nick when all she’s ever been told is that she’s ugly, she’s pathetic, she’s unworthy of love? And how can she ever feel safe, now that Raleigh Barringer is suddenly—terrifyingly—back in town?

256 pages, Hardcover

First published September 12, 2013

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About the author

Jennifer R. Hubbard

4 books272 followers
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 107 reviews
Profile Image for Rose.
1,879 reviews1,064 followers
November 28, 2013
"Until It Hurts to Stop" is a decent enough story by Jennifer Hubbard. I liked the slice of life style of the narrative and the honesty of the protagonist, but what I think makes or breaks this novel is whether or not you can see how the main character grows within her experiences. Maggie is a young woman who has more than enough issues on her plate, between dealing with a former bully who returns from Italy to her school, between dealing with liking her best male friend and the distance between them as he grows interested in another girl, and dealing with a best female friend who seems more distant than ever.

I did find that Maggie was often self-centered, jealous, and often acted in ways that I didn't agree with, but I did get a sense of where her mind was throughout all the issues she has to deal with and the scope of her relationships. The writing style/prose reads well, and I think Hubbard's narrative works well for conveying Maggie's voice. I still felt like there was a lot in this story that could've amounted to more, and that it could've felt more fulfilling than the point where the book ended. It just felt incomplete in a way that I can't entirely put my finger on for the respective conflicts. Some resolutions came up, like Maggie's relationship with Vanessa and both of their sentiments towards Nick and Maggie realizing that Raleigh no longer bullied her and that she had to find some way to move on with her life. But for me, it just didn't completely feel like a full experience for me to read. Thus, this wasn't the best narrative I've read for its subject matters, but it wasn't one of the worst either - just middle of the road that could've offered more.

Overall score: 2.5/5 stars
Profile Image for Daisy.
57 reviews2 followers
April 22, 2014
It was a pretty good book, yet, I had a very hard time relating to it.

I couldn't relate to the bullying and it made me mad that it seemed to go unnoticed at school and in a way scarred Maggie quiet deeply. Now four years later, as Raleigh shows up in Maggie's school, she is scared again waiting for the bully to strike.

I've never been into hiking, so that metaphor, even though, it was not lost on me, was not very appealing.

The romance triangle kind of threw me off as well and I wasn't a big fan of it at all.

And even though it all came together in the end, and Maggie realized some interesting things about herself, I actually thought that that realization (about herself and others) seemed more like an excuse to get on with her life than a solution. I don't know... it just didn't work for me.

Having said that, I think it would be a good read for young adults who feel like outcasts or are bullied, as it has some interesting and realistic lesson and messages.

The writing was good and it was a fast read, so I can confidently give this book 3 STARS .

ARC provided by Net Galley for an honest review.

Profile Image for Maggie61.
726 reviews3 followers
November 10, 2013
Pretty good read. Gives an idea about how much damage bullying can do to a person. In middle school Maggie was constantly bullied by Raleigh and her friends and then fortunately it stopped when she moved away. But then yesrs she returned and Maggie is once again living In fear and shame. Maggie is forever waiting for the ridicule and the bullying has shaped her personality. When she had a fight with some friends she waits for the cycle ti start again. When Raleigh tells her to get over it, that it was 7th grade Maggie realizes that she's been a prisoner to her fear and she doesn't have to let it control her life. It does show though that Raleigh had no guilt over her treatment and this is often the case, the person bullying doesn't get the impact they have on someone's life, how damaging it can be permanently, not everyone can rise above it and not have it destroy them.
879 reviews11 followers
October 11, 2013
This tale is every student’s nightmare of bullying. Maggie is so deeply scarred by the taunts and cruelty from 7th grade, that it still haunts her three years later. Everything she does is tainted by her insecurities and fear. Maggie’s anxiety is heightened and she is paralyzed by her dread of a renewal of the bullying when her old nemesis moves back to town from years spent in Italy. During the three years since being victimized, Maggie has found comfort in her piano and her hiking with her friend Nick. Recently she seems to be finding her buddy Nick to be more and more alluring, but her self-doubt gets in her way. Hubbard has captured the agony bullying causes and the long-term effects of being a target of mean girls. Maggie’s entire life has been shaped by her middle school horrific experience and it even incapacitates her in her relationships with friends – both girls and boys.
In her attempt to cope, Maggie pushes herself with more difficult hikes and this is emblematic of her pushing herself toward being more assertive in her personal life. The book nails meanness at its worst and reminds us of the devastating impact it can have on a person’s psyche.
Profile Image for Katarina Silva.
359 reviews
November 23, 2017
For more Reviews: NOVA Reviews <3

I don't know how to express my experience with this book because it didn't really worked out for me. It was too annoying sometimes, with nothing going on and the characters seemed lost. They changed their mind time after time, and their personalities weren't the best. Don't get me wrong, this book is great about talking about bullying and what it does to a young person but it could have been written with a bit more of Wit. Too bad, I had really high expectations...


Maggie was a bullying victim. She is quite well written because you can read and feel all about her experience with the worse types of bullying, the name-calling, the hitting and the laughing... It's all there and it all left a mark on her. You can see her as this shy girl who's very insecure about herself right until the end, it's like there is no evolution... But I liked that when she hiked you got a brand new Maggie, a more interesting one who wasn't afraid. As for personality she was quite selfish and annoying and sometimes even forgetting that other people DID have a life besides her own... That bothered me a lot.

Nick was blah... He was good as a supporter and friend. But other wise? Bland. Nice, and that's all.

It was quite obvious that these two liked each other, but oh well. And since no one decided to bring that up until the last pages I am an not going to address it either.

The "best friends" were really mediocre and could have been far better if they would been more developed... Like Louis and Sylvie... They could be great characters and really elevate the book!

To all the bullies out there! Suck it!


Generally? I liked the book but didn't wowed me. It's a good book especially targeted to bullying that will get you thinking and make you want to help and act against those people, but asides from that.... Normal.
Profile Image for Melissa.
300 reviews15 followers
November 11, 2013
This is a MUST read. No doubt about it everyone has been through something like this, whether it was something small someone critiqued you for or all out bullying but this book hits hard. Everyone should read this once and let the story come to life before your eyes.

Maggie breaks my heart in so many ways. She was bullied so horribly in middle school and still isn't over it. It is a living breathing beast in her I've, no matter that it was done and over with when the queen bee moved she still does everything she can to stay under the radar. She has two great friends but doesn't tell them everything about how bad things really got so they don't understand and she is also so caught up in her own stuff she isn't being there for them.

Nick is an amazing character and friend. Things are starting to change between the two but can she let go of the past and start focusing on the now. She has no idea how to act, she is kind of awkward in her own way but she is still fumbling on how to act. When things take a turn in the opposite direction with Nick, I couldn't wait to see what would happen, hoping it would give her a kick in the butt.

I can't tell you how much this book stuck with me. I am so in love with how this author brought these problems to life. Everything about this book reaches out to you, and it is like you are there in the hallways not being able to stop anything before it happens. It is a fast read that will leave you reeling. I love love love this book!
Profile Image for Laura.
380 reviews24 followers
September 19, 2013
This book was really good. I thought it was like the book North of Beautiful byJustina Chen. They both had a commonality between the outdoors and something that they so desperately hide. It shows the effect a bully can have on someone. Because it is so much harder to forget the mean comments and to stop looking over a shoulder, waiting for the next attack. I really like all the commentary and it showed how people can change from middle to high school, and even Raleigh had her own troubles.
Profile Image for April.
2,101 reviews950 followers
October 2, 2013
There are some voices in contemporary young adult literature that do not seem to get enough recognition. Jennifer Hubbard is one of those authors that I wish more people would read. She writes these excellent, realistic young adult books that just cut right to the heart of you. After reading The Secret Year, I kept an eye out for Hubbard’s books and have taken a keen interest in her latest release – Until It Hurts To Stop, a book that takes on the difficult topic of bullying, but in what I felt was a pretty new way.
Read the rest of my review here
73 reviews
March 13, 2022
I was gonna drop this. The characters seemed like I was reading about a brick and the bullying and stuff was kind of off. Especially Maggie, as the main character, she seemed like she was shutting everyone out and only loved Nick because the author put him there. Oh, and also, they both....liked to hike? I dunno....at least it was a shorter read.
Profile Image for Dalene.
859 reviews26 followers
September 11, 2013
Jennifer R. Hubbard's "Until It Hurts to Stop" is such an amazing read. Most YA now days about romance and supernatural. Hubbard was able to have a YA novel with real life aspects. Bullying is such a major issue and it just keeps getting worse. "Until It Hurts to Stop" tells the story of Maggie, a girl who was tortured throughout junior high. Now four years later she cannot get over what she went through. Maggie is always wondering if people are laughing about her and talking about her. She basically went through hell and lived through it.

This novel touches on some major problems in our society though. Maggie

Not only does Maggie have to deal with her demons, her best friend Nick has a father who thinks the worst of him. His father even states, "That's what you have to do with stupid people: repeat things. Tell them over and over, until they finally start to get it." This novel not only covers the bullies that children have to face everyday at work, but the bullies that people have to face with their parents.

Hubbard was able to touch on every aspect of bullying, which I applaud her for. Bullying I imagine would be a very hard aspect to write about, yet she was able to write about it perfectly. She wrote about the fears Maggie had, even though it was four years later. It just shows that bullying stays with you.

This novel is very emotion and every teenager, heck every adult should read it.

***Here are some of my favorite quotes from "Until It Hurts to Stop":***
"I only hope she didn't see me running, that she didn't catch the scent of my fear the way a shark smells blood in the ocean."

"Picturing the death throes of Raleigh and Adriana gave me a coziness in my stomach, even better than the cookies."

"After all, there must be something wrong with me or why else would they be picking on me?"

"...how long it's going to take to get all the way back to normal-if normal is even possible?"

"I know this feeling of utter helplessness-I had it everyday back in junior high-but it's never happened on a trail before."

"The hiking trails are the one place I've felt like my real self, the one place I've belonged, and I can't accept the defeat on Crystal."
Profile Image for Jace.
329 reviews9 followers
November 4, 2013
I did get through this whole book, which in retrospect was suprising. I think the only reason I kept reading was to see if there was going to be a good ending, which can sometimes salvage a book like this.
It never came.
Maggie is so incredibly self involved it's insane. The whole book is pretty much her remembering her bullying in junior high. As soon as she hears Releigh's voice, we bounce back into 2 pages of her memories of being called names, locked in bathroom stalls, etc. She spends most of her energy at school locked up waiting for her arch nemesis to start up again.
Then there's Nick. He kisses her, they do a little make out session, then she flees his house, waits all weekend for him to call, and when he doesn't TEXTS him that they should just remain friends. I though..Okay, fine this misunderstanding will be straighted out at some point and hopefully lead up to something..

He then starts dating a nice girl, and keeping Maggie right in the friend zone where she TOLD him she wanted them to stay, and she acts like a jilted woman. She's petty, moody, jelous, and doesn't hide any of these things. She doesn't even distance herself from him and her embarassing behavior.

Her friendship with Nick also seems very fake. I get that they hike together, that's their thing. They joke sometimes, very rarely have an indepth conversation. I just didn't feel any real BFF type of vibes. I would have believed their romance more if it was introduced as them being hiking buddies and that comraderie leaking into their daily lives and then progressing to romance.

She also completely ignores her ONE other friend, unless it has to do with trying to get her on the phone to disguess Maggie's own problems.

Frankly, my two favorite parts of the book are when Her only other friend tells her off for being selfish and self centered, a when she finally has a run in with Reileigh and Reileigh tells her to grow up, that junior high was so over.

Gah, this was a bad one.
Profile Image for Megan.
755 reviews25 followers
July 18, 2016
The only reason I bought this book was because it was fairly cheap at Half Price Books, and I wanted a short contemporary read. I was never expecting to end up devouring this book in three hours and actually really enjoy it.

This book does something that Speak does, but even better. It demonstrates the anxiety of school in general. Maggie, our protagonist, was bullied in junior high by a girl named Raleigh and her group of friends. They would corner her in the bathroom and force her to say that she washes her hair in the toilet. A lot of people won't relate to Maggie's character, but I did in a way.

I wasn't bullied in junior high, but my freshman and sophomore years were when I was scared to go to school the night before. I definitely wasn't hazed as much as poor Maggie, but it struck home for me and I couldn't stop reading. Not a lot happens in this book, yet I had to know what would go down between Nick and Maggie and Raleigh and Maggie.

Like I was saying, this book isn't action-filled or incredibly riveting. It's just about Maggie and her struggle with the return of her bully, feelings for her best friend, and anxiety about the future. A lot of the struggles that Maggie dealt with were similar to my own. I've been very stressed about college and had some friend issues, like Maggie and Sylvie experience. I guess most of my love for Maggie and this book stems from how much I resonate with her character.

I really enjoyed Maggie's love for the outdoors and her and Nick's hiking adventures. It's something that I don't see often in books, and it made me happy to see how passionate Maggie was and how she used that passion to fuel her extracurricular activity choice.

Yeah, the writing is sub-par, and the plot is something that is seen over and over in YA and just about every genre. It's a book that won't wow most people unless you feel a connection with the main character and her struggles.
Profile Image for Spencer.
1,333 reviews18 followers
September 17, 2020
2.5 to 3 stars

When Maggie was in junior high, she was the school outcast. She had her own personal bullies who delighted in tormenting her every day life at school. They told everyone she washed her hair in toilets, tripped her, told her she was better off dead.

The main bully ended up leaving for Italy with her family and Maggie felt like she was safe. She recovered from their years of torment and went about her life.

Then she came back. And Maggie could no longer deal. She felt like she was back in junior high again. And she just knew that her bullies would be back at it again.

Honestly, the story was too bad. It shows the after effects of bullying pretty well. I just kept feeling like it was going to be ... more ... somehow. Just like it was building up to something that just never happened. In fact, when the confrontation scene did happen, all I felt was disappointment. That scene may have been fair accurate for real life, but I felt like it was such a let down.

Plus, I hated the whole Sylvie thing. I know that was put in there to reinforce Maggie's selfishness, but I felt like Sylvie wasn't even apart of Maggie's life until the breakup happened. Not even as a sort of friend. Just because Maggie messaged her all the time, it just felt one sided. Like Sylvie never seemed to want Maggie in her life because it's not like she was starting all these conversations with her. Not until the breakup. So, I just felt like Sylvie wasn't a fleshed out character, but only put in there to demonstrate how Maggie was, but not as her own person.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Curington.
204 reviews24 followers
September 2, 2013
Maggie is a bit of a loner who can't stop hearing the voice of her lead tormentor from 7th grade. She knows she did nothing to deserve the persecution, but years of torture have left her putting a wall between herself and the world. Luckily, she found a few close friends who understand her. Nick, especially, shares her love of the outdoors and mountain climbing. Maggie is getting by until the day Nick kisses her. Even though she has been reevaluating her feelings for him, she panics.

I found Maggie to be a very believable character. While I wanted her to start speaking up for herself, I could really understand why she didn't. And the romantic cluelessness of both Nick and Maggie felt very real. This book really hit on what it is to be so wrapped up in your own world that you can't see past yourself to other people. I also liked how it dealt with the long-term consequences of bullying without ever using that word or preaching. It made me remember why kids don't tell teachers or parents about what's happening but instead internalize the bully's words. I may have liked it better if the story had spent more time on resolution. I can't stand when the climax and resolution only take the last 5 pages. I was left feeling still unresolved.

Overall, a solid book but not a home run.

*ARC from NetGalley
Profile Image for Jules Goud.
1,126 reviews6 followers
June 9, 2016
Although I liked this book, I had one big problem.

My problem was Maggie. I understand that she kept her bullying matter with her and never forget it. I understand, its something that we can't forget sometimes. However, she was paranoid that Raleigh and the others were coming for her and she worried about herself. You can't do that. I didn't like her. To me, all that worrying was like she had no backbone. Then, she doesn't ask about her friend and her relationship and I don't like that. She was stuck in junior high and she couldn't get out.

The only thing that saved her was at the end, she has a spine and she ends up realizing what she does wrong and she actually tries to fix it. That was my favourite part. When she realizes that nobody is out to get her. When she realizes that she was letting Raleigh ruin her life even more with keeping her experiences with her and using them against herself.

Other then that small problem, I really enjoyed this book and found that you can really connect to Maggie. She was one of those characters that goes through real things and her reactions to them are real.

Impressive book about a subject that is present is a lot of people's lives. Really shows the importance of pushing through the bad times for the light that is waiting for you and moving on, not letting those bad experiences hold you back from living the life that you want.
Profile Image for Jessica.
350 reviews2 followers
August 4, 2014
Maggie was bullied a lot in middle school, led by a girl named Raleigh. It didn't stop until Raleigh moved away to Italy. Now she's deeply scarred by the years of harassment and it still affects how she acts and feels. She's trying to figure out how she really feels about her best friend Nick, who she often goes hiking with to burn off steam. Everything suddenly becomes complicated and frightening again when Raleigh moves back to town.

I liked the depiction of bullying in this book and how deeply it bothers Maggie, but she just felt too stunted. The resolution was too fast and not at all satisfying, especially when so long was spent on how hurt and messed up she was due to the bullying. She was also frustrating to no end! Watching her ignore her best girl-friend was kind of agonizing. Almost as bad as watching her treat Nick (and his new girlfriend)poorly because she's jealous when she's the one who defined their relationship as "just friends". The reverberating effects Maggie felt from the years of bullying are really realistic and well done, but it would have worked a lot better with a stronger resolution.

This book would be good for middle schoolers because it's too simple for anyone older, and there are a few instances of strong language (b-word mostly).
I received a digital galley of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Hannah.
60 reviews1 follower
May 31, 2015
I just wasn't feeling this book... personally, I found Maggie annoying and self-absorbed. She ignored her friends and was obsessed with being with Nick. Even after she told him she just wanted to be friends, when Nick got together with someone else, she freaked. *facepalm* Okay, then.

I really felt like the plot centered around Nick and Maggie. The rest was pretty much Maggie despairing over her past. I felt like she was too sad. (Don't think I'm an insensitive person. Hear me out.) Pretty much everyone has experienced bullying in one form or another, myself included, and I couldn't relate to her because I was always angry, not sad. And at the ending, after facing off Raleigh, she said something about how she needed to move on. I can't believe I had to wait that long for that realization!!!

I appreciate Hubbard's attempt at the "onward and upward" mountain climbing/hiking metaphor, but it didn't really work for me. I'm not much of a hiker, maybe that's it. I'm sure it worked for others.

Overall, it had a good moral. Bullying can scar someone for life, and it's hard to recover from it. It takes a long time to feel like yourself again, but if you have the strength and support from family and friends, you can do it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
Author 13 books20 followers
April 24, 2014
This would have made for a very good short story, but novels require more material at their core to sustain a reader's interest.

High school junior, Maggie Camden, still carries the scars from horrific bullying in middle school. When her former bully, Raleigh, comes back to town, Maggie begins flashing back to everything she suffered in 7th grade. Add to the mix a romantic complication with her long time friend and trail buddy, Nick, and the teenage angst is off the charts and completely believable.

Where the story goes wrong though is in Maggie's passivity. It's easy to sympathize with her for 20 pages. At 200, she just becomes tedious especially since most of her issues are tied up in her inability to communicate. Maggie has very supportive parents and an excellent friend in Nick, but her insecurity and paranoia grows wearying.

I like a lot of the themes explored here and Hubbard is a good writer. Next time though, she needs to put some more meat into the tale.
Profile Image for Taylor.
26 reviews33 followers
February 27, 2015
I understood the point of the novel was Maggie's growth from being stuck in the victim mind-set of junior high to realizing it didn't matter any more. Yet, she still got on my nerves. Maybe it was because that realization occurred in the last two pages of the book. The only relief from Maggie's internal victimizing are the brief moments on the mountains or between her and Nick. Granted, those moments were precious, but I wish that realization had lingered a bit longer to make up for Maggie's previous behavior.
32 reviews
August 9, 2019
I read the blurb at the beginning of the book and thought this was going to be a book about a girl standing up to her bully, boy was I wrong. The bully (Raleigh) is developed through out the book as some scary mean girl set out to ruin Maggies (the main characters) life. Maggie recounts different instances where Raleigh has humiliated her in the past but doesn't actually bully her in the present day until the ending of the book. Maggie actually finds out some dirt about Raleigh and it seems like perfect justice to use this on the girl who has been tormenting her for years, but no. Maggie chooses the high road and just lets herself get bullied by this girl and her mean friends. Maggie stands up to her but it doesn't really get her anywhere so there was basically no change in their dynamic. The book also had these random problems thrown in that had no conclusion at the end. They make a big deal about Maggie and Nick (her best friend) trying to hike this mountain but nothing happens on the mountain and It doesn't particularly change the characters in any way. And there is this whole "thing" with Nick's dad who spends the whole time telling his son how dumb he is, but this doesn't get resolved in a any way at the end. I liked how things ended with Nick and Maggie but everything else in the story just felt unfinished. It seemed like the author had stoped 3/4ths of the way through the book and forgot to write the ending. I liked the concept and it was well written, I just wish the ending had tied up all the loose ends and resolved all the conflicts facing the characters.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Victoria Lees.
Author 3 books30 followers
February 4, 2018
Jennifer R. Hubbard's YA novel Until It Hurts to Stop is a first person account about how bullying manifests itself in the victim’s mind. I feel this novel shows bullying on two fronts: in the school for the protagonist Maggie and on the home front for her friend Nick.

Like every good story, the plot unfolds slowly. And like a good story, there are both internal and external problems to face. The reader gets inside the daily struggles of Maggie through her mindset. She is an awkward, shy girl who doesn’t have many friends, a perfect target for bullies. She’s not like the other girls. She likes to read about mushrooms and climb mountains with her best friend Nick.

Both characters in the novel turn to nature to feel free from life’s troubles. I can relate to this as I go camping with five kids at national and state parks, many times climbing mountains as Maggie and Nick do. My family finds nature freeing from life’s stress, too. My son and daughter and I have backpacked the Appalachian Trail several times and can relate to trekking up a mountainside with fully loaded packs.

Maggie holds onto her past experiences with bullying and allows them to color her present days. Hubbard’s novel comes full circle as Maggie grows and learns how to deal with her past and finally moves on with her life.

If you want to understand what bullying does to a person or help someone overcome bullying, Jennifer R. Hubbard's YA novel Until It Hurts to Stop is an excellent book to read.
Profile Image for Maggie.
730 reviews66 followers
September 13, 2013
3.5 stars

A few months ago I featured this book as a Waiting on Wednesday pick. I’ve actually had pretty crappy luck with my Waiting on Wednesday picks, I would say I probably end up disliking the books I pick more than I end up liking them. Maybe at the end of the year I’ll end up doing some kind of recap and try to figure out how to be better, but for now I am just happy to say that this was a winning Waiting on Wednesday pick.

But I didn’t realize it was a winner right away. My first two thoughts on starting this book were “I love a character named Maggie” (although the best friend/love interest is named Nick which is my brother’s name so that’s kind of weird for me) and “wow this dialogue is kind of really awkward.” After finishing I don’t know why I thought the dialogue was so awkward at first, because I didn’t think that through the rest of the book. The book starts in the middle of Maggie’s birthday with her best friends Nick and Sylvie giving her gifts. Looking back it made sense, but at the time I felt like I was just being dropped into the middle of this story.

Maggie and Nick have been best friends since middle school. They met because their mothers work together, but they didn’t actually attend middle school together. Unfortunately for Maggie middle school was not a good experience. A mean girl named Raleigh pretty much went to war on Maggie and turned the entire school against her, calling her names, tripping her, locking her in bathroom stalls, and even telling her to go hang herself. Luckily for Maggie, Raleigh moved to Italy after junior high and by the time high school started everyone had moved on, except for Maggie.

This was one of the most difficult parts of the book for me: how stuck Maggie is in the past. I don’t know what it’s like to be bullied like that and I get that my perspective as a 28-year-old is a lot different than Maggie’s as a 16-year-old, but I really just wanted to tell her that everyone is not spending all their time plotting against her and that she needs to get over herself. I felt bad for thinking that, but, even though I did like her, she really drove me crazy at times.

This is really a book about Maggie growing up and confronting her demons, but a big portion of it is also about Maggie’s relationship with her best friend Nick. From the beginning of the book it’s obvious that there’s a deeper connection between them, but Maggie is so beaten down from her middle school bullies that she doesn’t have the self-confidence to see it. They kiss one afternoon and after the kiss Maggie flees and doesn’t hear from Nick until she contacts him two days later. I liked how her concerns about pursuing a relationship with Nick involved both her deep-seated insecurities and also everyday girl stuff like being afraid of ruining your relationship with your best friend and being worried when you haven’t heard from him.

After they finally talk again Maggie and Nick decide to just be friends and try to go back to the way they were before. Obviously that’s a difficult thing to do, but I enjoyed watching how they tried to do the every day things they did before, like hiking (I loved their hiking trips) and try new things like Nick dating a girl in Maggie’s French class. I guess you could call it a love triangle, but it didn’t bother me (I tend to not like love triangles), I think because the main focus of the book was on Maggie as a person, not on the romance.

The one major criticism I have of this book is the cover. What is up with the cover? It’s a girl? Staring at water? With a bird flying by? It’s so menacing, and the book certainly is menacing, I never quite knew what was going to happen and I was on edge about Raleigh starting up her campaign against Maggie again, but the menacing on the cover has nothing to do with the menacing in the book. There’s no water in the book and I was going to say there were no birds, but then I remembered Maggie and Nick did come across birds while hiking, but it has nothing to do with the way birds are depicted on the cover.

What really won me over on this book and bumped it up to 3.5 stars from 3 stars in my mind was the ending. I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever read a more perfect ending for a book. The whole time I was reading I had my dream ending in mind, but no way did I think it would actually end that way. BUT IT DID! I was shocked and so happy. I really think that Jennifer R. Hubbard hit the nail perfectly on the head with the ending. Plus I loved how the title of the book worked itself into the book. Going into the book I assumed the title referred to something to the bullying, but really it was something very hopeful and sweet.

Bottom Line: This is an interesting, sad look at the ramifications of being bullied. Thankfully the characters, even the bad ones, ring true and the book does a great job of showing how to deal and how not to deal with being bullied. There’s a small romantic component, but mostly this is a book about a girl coming to terms with what happened to her and moving on from it and I really appreciated that.

I received an electronic review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley (thank you!). All opinions are my own.

This review first appeared on my blog.
Profile Image for Shannon.
17 reviews1 follower
February 7, 2022
It was good. Not gripping or anything like that but it was good. It had a feel good ending. May e had I not read so many reviews first and scewed my opinion?? Not sure. Probably won't talk about this one much.
Profile Image for Kaitlin.
55 reviews2 followers
December 7, 2018
Couldn't put this book down. It was so real, so close to home with its story and the emotion. I would definitely suggest this book.
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