Friday, October 20, 2017

REVIEW: The Gatekeepers by Jen Lancaster - Erin

Posted by HelloJennyReviews at 9:00 AM
The Gatekeepers 
by Jen Lancaster  
Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected publication: October 10th 2017 by Harlequin Teen
ISBN (ISBN13: 9780373212613)
Received From NetGalley In Exchange For Honest Review

Anyone passing through North Shore, IL, would think this was the most picture-perfect place ever, with all the lakefront mansions and manicured hedges and iron gates. No one talks about the fact that the brilliant, talented kids in this town have a terrible history of throwing themselves in front of commuter trains, and that there's rampant opioid abuse that often leads to heroin usage.

Meet Simone, the bohemian transfer student from London, who is thrust into the strange new reality of the American high school; Mallory, the hyper-competitive queen bee; and Stephen, the first generation genius who struggles with crippling self-doubt. Each one is shocked when lovable football player Braden takes his own life and the tragedy becomes a suicide cluster. With so many students facing their own demons, can they find a way to save each other—as well as themselves?

Inspired by the true events that happened in the author’s home town.


I gave this book 4 stars, despite many issues that I had with it, because in the long run if you stick with the story until the end, it really is a good suicide prevention novel. It should end up being right up there with “13 Reasons Why”. I also gave it a little more lean way since it was based on true events. 

First off, the problems I had with the story. I really didn’t care for any of the characters. I know it is how they were raised and the pressure that was put on them and such, but OMG, they were all for the most part stuck up brats! I wanted to smack most of them. I also realize that they’re teens and this is how teens act but wow. Just wow. I thought after the 2 deaths mentioned in the beginning of the book that people would start acting to stop the trend, but no. It took over half the book and 2 more deaths for the kids to step up. It took a (spoiler alert for the rest of sentence) near fatal car accident cause by drugs for the parents to react, and even then they were still more worried about themselves and the town being upper class and everyone being elite then their kids dying. I just couldn’t believe it! I know I’m not “upper class” but wow! The people in the book were just cold. Is this really how the upper class elites live? It made it hard for me to connect to parts of the story because of this. 

Now for the good things in the novel. The book it’s self was well written. It was an original perspective on a nationwide issue.  They eventually cover all the aspects of teen suicide including: warning signs, depression, alcohol, drugs, survivors guilt, and the grieving process. There are times where some of the kids try to reach out for help which gave the story a bit of a new view. I feel like usually you don’t see that part until after the person is already dead in most books. One kid tells his girlfriend that he’s having trouble with drugs and could use help. He gets ignored because she’s too busy (which made me mad) but it does lead to more happening in the story and probably does sometimes happen in real life. This book focuses on the extreme pressure these teens are put under to succeed. They must get the best grades, must get into the best schools, must date the right people, must win every sporting and academic event, must be skinny and look perfect. In some ways I can see many teens relating to this. Everyone is under some kind of pressure, maybe from parents, maybe from peers, maybe from school or work, or maybe from the media. The book, to me, makes it hard for regular people to feel bad for the characters though, even though we can understand them. One student thinks he bombed an interview to the elite school he “has” to get into with early admissions. I’m sorry but normal teens are more worried about getting into college in general and most don’t worry about early admissions. At least that’s how it was in my middle class school, and yes we did have some students who went off to Harvard, Yale, etc. I do give this book a lot of credit when it came to the support group that the teens make. I feel that the “Gatekeepers” group should be something that every school looks into making. Everyone can use at least a little support sometimes. 

Over all I think this book will be useful to a lot of people. It has inspired me to look into potential programming for the library I work at that might be able to help people, like the gatekeepers did. The characters weren’t my favorite, but it was well written and dealt with a tough topic and there for earns a 4 star rating despite it's flaws.    

*To view Erins personal blog please click her signature above^*


Post a Comment

Join us on Facebook

Please wait..10 SecondsCancel
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Hello Jenny Reviews Copyright © 2010 Design by Ipietoon Blogger Template Graphic from Enakei