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The Social Media Experiment

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  891 ratings  ·  177 reviews
The Social Media Experiment by Cole Gibsen

On the surface, seventeen-year-old Reagan Fray appears to have everything. She's popular, Ivy League–bound, and her parents are rich enough to buy her whatever she wants. Behind the scenes, Reagan is a girl with an anxiety disorder struggling to hold the fraying threads of her life together. It takes work to stay on top, and when
ebook, 320 pages
Published April 28th 2015 by Entangled: Teen
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Want to know what scares the ever loving crap out of me?

Teenage girls in particular.

Regan Flay is one of those girls. She is on the cheer-leading squad, up for student council, all the shit that goes with being a popular princess.
Regan Flay is not exactly like-able. She talks behind your back and always needs the dirt on you so she can get you first.

Then someone puts up all the bad things she has said about her fellow classmates all over school and suddenly she is the one getting bullied.

(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Entangled Publishing, LLC and NetGalley.)

“I had no idea that I was… destroying people.”

This was a really good story, about one girl and how her bullying ways backfired on her.

“It all started with a text.”

I liked Regan, although she really did say some nasty things about people at the start of the book. I did feel like she was only saying nasty things because she herself felt insecure, but that didn’
Rhea Dsouza
Jan 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
When you play with people's lives the biggest casualty may be your own.

ReganFlay is one of the most popular girls in school. She’s smart, she’s attractive and she’s a bully. She talks shit about people and is involved inassassinatingcharactersof people she doesn’t even know. Life Unaware is her story.

When all of Regan’s secrets are laid out for the entire school to see, she’s sure that it’s the end of her life. She’s lost all her friends—people she’s not even sure she can call “friends” anymore—
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorites
I adored this book. I really did and that's saying something. I initially thought okay, this is one of those books. Girl is popular, says bad things, and is ostracized. Okay, big deal. I was wrong.

I mean the plot is still pretty much popular girl goes down but, the way the characters recovered was very realistic and made the book really easy to read. Regan is a bully but when she becomes the "pariah," her character changes, and it made everything better.

Initially I though Regan would bore me but
Brandi Kosiner (Brandi Breathes Books)
3.5 stars
Life Unaware appealed to me because of the bullying issue. I read another where it was from the stand point of the bullier and I did end up feeling for that person. And it sounds like I will end up understanding Regan. From the synopsis she does seem like someone easy to dislike but it also shows the backfire and the pressure that is too much for her from her mom. Not that there is ever any excuse for bullying other people, there are reasons, and sometimes those can be enough to
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Regan Flay may seem nice on the outside, but the popular cheerleader talks behind everyone's back, including her best friend. Now she's the one being talked about and bullied, which is wreaking havoc on her anxiety disorder. Regan just wants things to get back to normal, until a guy (who has been driving her crazy) questions whether she wants to go back to being a mean girl.

When I first started reading LIFE UNAWARE, I worried I'd be too distracted with awkwardly flowery language, but after a few
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nowadays, it seems like every other day we hop on social media to see another story about a teen being bullied. It may be a headline for a news article, or it may be a post by a friend, concerned over how their child is being treated. Either way, when you think it should be getting better, that as a whole we should be getting a grip on bullying, it just feels like nobody's listening because it keeps escalating. What makes this story so much different is that it's about the bully. It's about how ...more
Meredith Tate
Feb 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book! Let's see if I can write this review without showing my social worker side...

As someone who isn't really into "issue books," I wasn't too sure LIFE UNAWARE was going to be a good choice for me. However, Gibsen portrays issues of bullying and mental illness without being too heavy handed. It was a darker book, but still managed to be fun and not a downer.

I also felt that Regan's anxiety disorder and panic attacks were shown respectfully, accurately, and without
Paula Stokes
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story should be on the shelves of every bookstore and library, because it will save lives--both literally and metaphorically--if it gets into the right hands at the right times.
Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Deciding to actually read Cole Gibsen's latest new book was an extremely risky decision for me: I am, by no means, a contemporary reader (why I'm avoiding New Adult a lot), and telling Cole (or any author) that I hated her latest book is not something I would actually like to do...

I find that Life Unaware wasn't so daunting after all. In fact,
Danni Maxwell
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
*I was given this book in e-book form through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review*

I went into this without really remembering the synopsis of the book, so it was like going in blind. Part of me wishes I had reread it so I knew what I was going into. It's about Regan Flay who is one of the popular girls of the school she attends who tries to be perfect to keep her overly controlling politician mother happy. But then her private messages are shared with the entire school, so every single
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrific YA book that addresses the reality of bullying and ugliness that is high school, told with characters the reader grows to love and identify with along the journey. The reality of anxiety disorder, demanding parents and betrayals combines with the constant strive for solution and triumph. I highly reccommend this book for teens and fans of YA,
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-to-review
(I received a copy from Netgalley, In exchange for an honest review.)

I didn't like Regan at the start, but she grew on me. I felt really sorry for her when all her friends abandoned her, but in the end, the change in her popularity made her a much better person.

This was a really enjoyable read, which had a nice ending.

I'll definately be reading more from this author.
Warnings: attempted suicide, bullying, mentions of homophobia, panic attacks

A book from the POV of a bully, Life Unaware has a good message, and does its best to speak it out. The book begins with Regan, the protagonist, apologizing for all that she had done and that pretty much tells us what the story is about - her learning about the consequences of her actions.

The popular girl in school as well as the daughter of a sitting Congresswoman, Regan has always been concerned with how she appears;
Amanda G. (Nellie and Co.
Books are special. They're a mixture of 26 letters, jumbled up into an impossible number of variations, influencing us and our thoughts, our decisions, our emotions, changing our perspectives, our opinions, our attitudes, rearranging our point of view, how we see people and the world, but most of all, when they're good, connect and allow a reader to completely and utterly resonate with the story that's being told. When a book is that good that it takes a hold of your sensitive heart strings, ...more
T.H. Hernandez
This book is intense! In a good way. I waffled on 4-1/2 or 5 stars, because it's not perfect and I like to save 5 stars for perfect, but this book has more feels than almost anything else I've read lately. And the longer I read it, the more perfect it became. Regan's journey is so satisfying because I disliked her so much in the beginning. But I was four chapters in and ready to stuff my head in an oven I was so depressed. It went from sucky, to horrific, to oh my god can we please just end the ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: src-spring-18
was mostly good, but ending was kind of predictable and she forgave Nolan wayyyy too quickly
Only 3/5 because the beginning was so promising, but the end, omg, WAS IT A FUCKING TEEN COMEDY ?!!! It was so deep at first, and then : romance, a dance, a big reveal... C'mon.
Max Baker
If there's one trope I love, it's the "cheerleader/mean girl falls from grace and gets bullied so she has to redeem herself in the eyes of her peers" trope. There's so much room for development in the characters, so many different themes that can be seamlessly worked in, and a great way to showcase how people rationalize their behavior.

So, naturally Life Unaware was a no brainer for me. Regan is the girl that everyone is friendly with, but doesn't actually know. She talks about everyone behind
You guys, I have read some pretty freaking awesome books this year. And actually, most of the books that have completely blew my socks off have been YA or NA – Paradise City, City Love, The Truth About Jack, Simon Vs The Homo Hapiens Agenda, and now Life Unaware. I literally had no idea I was reading a book that would give me ALL THE FEELS. Starting it, I wasn’t even sure I was going to like Regan never mind adore the life out of her. BUT IT WAS JUST SO GOOD.

First up: It’s a book about bullying
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not all high school bullying books are created equal. Some actually add a couple of twists that have the reader bragging to her friends about how awesome this is and should be read not only for the awareness but for the idea of how change could be incorporated within their school districts.

Seventeen-year-old Regan Flay is your typical straight A cheerleader, student council, center of attention girl that picks her friends for their social value and her activities based on how they will look on
Julie Rimpula
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
For more reviews, visit Books and Insomnia .
*I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I really enjoyed Cole Gibsen’s writing. The narration has a strong voice and the prose is very contemporary and well-written. I couldn’t put it down. Realistic and honest, Life Unaware certainly did not sugarcoat the ugly truth of bullying.

At first, I was disgusted by what a two-faced bitch Regan was. But as I read on and saw the story through Regan’s eyes, I couldn’t
❤ Jane ❤
“I had no idea that I was…destroying people.”

When I start reading, I usually don’t look at the synopsis nor remember what it says. I’m just forgetful. Imagine my surprise when the heroine is a real bully. Not just a popular girl who does nothing to stop her friends from bullying everyone else. It’s actually a story about the perspective of a bully and the bullied.

Regan Flay is a popular teen in her high school. She’s working hard to get in the cheerleading squad and to win as a student
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Life Unaware is most certainly a book focused on bullying. Bullying is a difficult topic for all parents, teachers, and especially, students. Whether you were the bullied or the bully, it is surprisingly touching in many ways. Yes, this book made me cry, because it is spectacularly beautiful in its own ways. (The ending is gorgeous.) This book is really amazing.

Regan, once the bully, now the bullied, is our narrator. It is easy to feel sympathy
Minty McBunny
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, june-2018
This was quite good, I liked the characters & the writing was solid. The problems were solved a bit simplistically but I think teens would enjoy this book, it has a valuable message
Jul 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Follow the blog tour here.

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

When I started reading Life Unaware I actually thought that it was a huge mistake and I'd end up not liking it. It seemed cliche and stereotypical for one but mostly it had to do with the fact that Regan Flay isn't your typical likable heroine. I've read books about bullying and all of them is told from the point of view of the one being bullied. This book however is told from the perspective of the bully.

Regan isn't exactly easy to sympathize
The realness of this book is uncanny.

This story is about the class mean girl - think Regina George except without the Cool Mom and has Crazy Strict Mom. Regan is the classic mean girl trope: pretty, perfect, and a blonde cheerleader. Except she has a darker side to her: she suffers from panic attacks because her government mom demands too much from her. When all of the nasty texts that Regan has sent in the past are plastered throughout the school, things go from bad to even worse for Regan.
Jennifer Strand
Original review posted at on 05/04/15:

I've been meaning to read a Cole Gibsen story since I first heard her personal story at the 2013 RT Convention in Kansas City. She's a remarkable woman and I really wanted to read her Katana series (now even more so), but you know how it is with time and TBR piles. *sigh* When I heard she had a standalone contemporary hitting the streets, I jumped at the chance to read it.

You might already know this, but I have a thing for books
Jaime ~ Fiction Fangirls
Sometimes when I've read a string of New Adult or Contemporary Romances and then I dive into a Young Adult/Coming of Age story I have a hard time reprogramming my brain to get into the mentality of a 15-18 year old. It's then that I have a hard time remembering what it was like to be young, naive and, yes, a little stupid which is why it was probably hard for me to get into this book for the first 25%. Do teenagers really act like this? Are they this cruel and selfish? Yes? That's why I hated ...more
Regan Flay is the popular girl at school, everyone knows who she is. However, the only way she was able to reach the top of her school's social hierarchy was by lying and manipulating others. When Regan gets found out, her life falls apart, and the entire school becomes against her. Not only that, but Regan is also suffering from an anxiety disorder which has a huge impact on her daily life.

As anyone who reads my blog and reviews will know, I am a massive supporter of the portrayal of mental
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Growing up, Cole Gibsen couldn't decide what she loved more--dogs or books. So she decided to devote her life to both! Dog trainer (wrangler) by day and author by night, she's the author of over ten books with more on the way.

She would love to connect with you on Twitter at

and Facebook at
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“Whenever someone says some- thing about us, it gets written inside us, permanently. The good words, the ugly words, it’s all right here.” I placed a palm against my chest. “Sure, you can scribble out the words or try to paint over them, but beneath the layers of paint and ink, they’re still there, branded to our cores like initials carved in a tree.” 6 likes
“If Amber kept up her act forever, it would only be a matter of time before the broken pieces of her real self were too small to ever be put back together. I didn’t know what happened to people once they were unfixable. I only hoped I never had to find out.” 3 likes
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