Thank you so much, Merit Press, for sending me a review copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
SUMMARY AND SPOILER-FREE REVIEW:
Annalise Cooper has been the target for Eva, Tori and Noelle ever since she had something with Eva's boyfriend in freshman year. Now that Noelle's crush is falling in love with Annalise, she becomes the victim of the three friends' game as they create the perfect guy online to make her fall in love with him, and humiliate her.
I went into this book knowing I would enjoy it because the premise sounded modern and entertaining, but after reading it and having a couple hours to think about it, I feel like its premise is extremely poor and insufficient.
It is true that Identity Crisis focuses on cyberbullying, but it is so much more than that. It is a novel full of messages and inspirational attitudes, characters that make it easy to relate to and different scenarios that make you think.
This book is written in two different POVs: Annalise, the victim, and Noelle, one of the abusers. I found it very pleasant to read from both perspectives because it helped me understand the reason why all the characters did what they did. It made the book more interesting than I thought it would be, and it made me think a lot. I think it would have been incomplete if we would have known just one side of the story.
Reading from Annalise's POV was not hard. It was actually very fun and relateable, at least for me. I loved how she was in love with that band, Brass Knuckles. It was the thing that brought me extremely close to her, since I know firsthand what being a fangirl feels like.
Noelle's POV was the one that completely shattered and destroyed me. It was really tough to read from a bully's perspective, when in the first place, she didn't even know what she was doing and how it could affect not only Annalise, but herself as well.
I must admit, I liked Noelle's POV more than Annalise's for just one reason: I learnt a lot and felt so proud of some of her words.
Annalise went into the Internet for fun and accidentally found that person that made her feel safe, as if she could tell him anything and still wouldn't be judged for that. And it all turned out to be a prank built out or revenge and nonsense that broke her heart.
Noelle was a very controversial character, because even though the bullying she was being part of was awful and terribly wrong, she made me feel a lot. Her backstory, how she was played by her friends, how she terribly needed Annalise as much as Annalise needed that boy online... I don't even feel guilty for liking Noelle, because if you read the novel, I assure you you will feel the same exact way towards her.
Identity Crisis might be a story about cyberbullying, but I think it's overall a story about friendship. And family. And self esteem and self respect. And confidence. And love. And betrayal and forgiveness.
That is why I think it deserves a full 5 anchors. There was nothing, nothing, missing.
It talks about being in an abusive friendship and how it is possible to make it out , step up and be on your own. How one shouldn't let others tell them what to do and how to do it. This novel definitely teaches you to say stop whenever you want to stop, because you can stop.
It discusses family issues and how it is possible to survive them. It even shows how economy can affect a family.
It talks about how even the worst things we can be put through are possible to overcome if we try hard enough.
It shows how it is possible to believe in love again, after having gone through bad experiences and heartbreak more than once.
It talks about rumours and how they can destroy lives and how easy it is to let them do so. And how hard it is to make them stop once they're started.
It perfectly represents how the Internet might be tearing society apart and we are doing nothing to stop it.