From School Library Journal
Gr 8-11-In junior high, Maggie Camden was subjected to bullying-vicious taunts that continue to haunt her four years later. Raleigh Barringer, who tormented her, moved away, but as the novel opens, Raleigh returns, stoking Maggie's memories of the harassment. Although Raleigh appears to ignore her now that they're in high school, Maggie can't seem to shake her dread. It's a little hard to believe that anyone so fearful would also be an A student with complementary extracurriculars, the piano and mountain climbing. Maggie's rebuilt confidence relies heavily on Nick Cleary, her hiking buddy and best friend, although the challenges they face on the trail aren't as interesting as their conversations on the ground. Her other worry, besides Raleigh, concerns a recent urge to kiss Nick. Thus the tension of this smart novel is within Maggie, and not between her and the societal problem of bullying.-Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journal. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Compared to the traumas of middle school, high school is a good place for Maggie. Here she has friends, hobbies, and even a possible love interest in Nick, her hiking buddy. Together, they rise to the challenge of rigorous walks in the woods and climbs in the mountains. Yet it’s a kiss that undoes their blossoming relationship, an ill-timed moment that corresponds with the arrival of Maggie’s former bully, Raleigh, back from living abroad. Maggie’s self-esteem plummets, and she loses the courage to let Nick know how she feels. Hubbard demonstrates the intense fear, paranoia, and dread that can paralyze victims of bullying long past the days of actual incidents. Maggie is nothing short of haunted by her past with Raleigh; memories come flooding back to her with the startling clarity and venom of PTSD flashbacks. The stuttering, burgeoning romance between Maggie and Nick becomes the backdrop to a more important love story, that of Maggie and herself. Readers will fall for this thoughtful, expansive, and tender offering. Grades 9-12. --Courtney Jones